Sunil Gavaskar believes India are the firm favourites against West Indies
Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar believes India are the outright favourites against in the four-match Test series against the West Indies which kick-started about an hour ago with the first match at Antigua. According to the former Indian skipper, the visitors have the edge in both the batting and bowling departments and claims that the partnership of skipper Virat Kohli and new head coach Anil Kumble will work their magic instantly.
The hosts have enjoyed a good run in the shorter formats of the game, winning the 2016 ICC World T20 beating England in the final, before putting up a spirited performance in the ODI tri-series at home which also featured Australia and South Africa. Despite losing to Steve Smith’s men in the final, West Indies showed great character and fight throughout the series earning high praise for their efforts.
However. their Test record has been pale in comparison to T20I and ODI cricket and Gavaskar feels Jason Holder’s men don’t have enough big game players in their ranks to cause India trouble.
“They don’t have the batsmen to score the big hundreds, except perhaps Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo,” said Gavaskar, explaining the lack of depth in the West Indian team while he also had something similar to say with regards to their bowling.
“They clearly don’t have the bowlers to take 20 Indian wickets and that gives the visitors an edge,” he added.
While youngster Lokesh Rahul has been impressing the team management with his ever-improving knocks, Gavaskar feels Kohli should give the trusted opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay a consistent run in the team – an advice which has been heeded to by the Indian think-tank.
“The left-right combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay has worked well for India and India will bank on that trusted pair,” said Gavaskar.
The West Indies tour is Anil Kumble’s first assignment in his role since being given a 1-year contract as India’s head coach by the BCCI in June. India’s leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, Kumble, has an abundance of experience and knowledge about the game and according to Gavaskar, the combination of Kumble and Kohli will work wonders for Team India.
“Although he was a spinner, Anil has the mentality of a fast bowler. The Kumble-Kohli should be big for India,” Gavaskar said.