After a disappointing end to their World Cup campaign, India will look to focus on the next assignment which is the tour of West Indies. The tour starts with the three-match T20I series out of which the first two are to be played in Florida, USA.
India have some young guns in the team who would like to perform well and make a strong case for the T20 World Cup to be played in 2020. The likes of Navdeep Saini, Khaleel Ahmed and Rahul Chahar would be eager to showcase their skills at the highest level.
On the other hand, West Indies would want to start afresh after a really poor outing in the World Cup. They showed glimpses of what their team is capable of but failed to perform consistently and as a result, couldn’t make the top four.
Having said that, they have a really strong team when it comes to the shortest format. They are the reigning world champions, and would be itching to perform against a top cricketing nation.
Will the West Indies start as favorites in this series? A couple of factors suggest so.
1. The ‘Andre Russell’ factor
If there is one single player you would want in your T20 team, then it has to be Andre Russell. He is one of the most impactful players in the shortest format, as reinforced a this year's IPL.
To state it in simple words, Russell can do everything.
He can smash an 80 off 30, he can bowl quick bouncers and rattle the opposition batsmen with pace, and then he can also take a great catch in the field. He is a player who can take the game away from the opposition in a flash. You might have done everything right for 35 overs, but he can turn things around in the last five.
Russell's impact is more with the bat than with the ball, but India would have to be wary of both aspects. The bowlers have to come up with plans to dismiss him early, or else they will be watching the ball sail over their head. And the batsmen have to be on their toes when pitted against him, or else they run the risk of succumbing to his pace and venom.
2.More T20 specialists and power hitters
If you take a look at the West Indies T20 squad from top to bottom, you would find that most of their players started their careers as T20 specialists.
The young players like Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran became famous in the CPL. The likes of Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine, who are making a comeback, are playing in only the shortest format for a while now. Pollard and Narine have played in all the T20 leagues around the world, and their team would never be short of experience in the T20 format.
Talking about power hitters, there isn't a single West Indian batsman who can’t clear the fence at will.
On the other hand, India don’t have many T20 specialists. They lack the power to match the West Indians; in fact, no team has the power to match the West Indians.
Needless to say, any team - including India - would find it hard to stop the Caribbean players once they get going.Published 31 Jul 2019, 23:00 IST