Afghanistan vs West Indies, 1st ODI: Preview – Litmus test for Kieron Pollard in second innings of career

Afghanistan vs West Indies, 1st ODI: Preview – Litmus test for Kieron Pollard in second innings of career

Pollard hasn't played ODI cricket since October 2016.

Keiron Polard and Rashid Khan
Keiron Polard and Rashid Khan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

West Indies cricket is in a bit of a doldrums in the recent times. The national team had a horrendous campaign in the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, followed by the series defeats at the hands of India. The Caribbean boys are now in India for three ODIs, as many T20Is and a one-off Test versus Afghanistan at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Vihari Vajpayee International Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.

All of the games on the tour will be played in Lucknow itself. The tour starts with the ODIs, the first of which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 06. The visitors didn’t have the best of starts after they lost the practice match by four wickets. Kieron Pollard and Co were bowled out for 156 in 38.5 overs. The Afghanistan XI won that encounter with as many as 91 deliveries to spare.

As far as the Afghans are concerned, like their opponent, even they didn’t do well in the World Cup. Then they sacked Gulbadin Naib and appointed Rashid Khan for all the three formats. The youngster from Nangarhar has had a great time in the Tests and T20I format. And it’s time for him replicate the same in ODIs as well. The conditions are expected to be more or less in Afghanistan’s favour.

Team Combinations

Afghanistan

Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman didn’t bowl in the practice games, but are likely to take field on Wednesday. It won’t be easy to drop Sharafuddin Ashraf, who got three wickets, as well. Hazratullah and Ahmadi form an explosive duo followed by the calm and composed Rahmat Shah. Asghar Afghan, Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah’s role in the middle will also be of prime importance.

Probable XI

Hazratullah Zazai, Javed Ahmadi, Rahmat Shah, Ikram Ali Khil (wk)/Afsar Zazai (wk), Asghar Afghan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Gulbadin Naib/Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rashid Khan (C), Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Naveen-ul-Haq

West Indies

Jason Holder, Evin Lewis and Jason Holder looked in some sort of rhythm with the bat, but couldn’t capitalize on their starts. A lot will depend on Shai Hope, one of the openers. Shimron Hetmyer will want to make amends after his three-ball duck. The rest of the batting has to contribute as well. Shepherd and Cottrell are likely to share the new ball. Hayden Walsh Jr may just make the cut.

Probable XI

Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard (C), Nicholas Pooran (wk), Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Romario Shepherd, Keemo Paul/Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Hayden Walsh Jr

Focus will be on

Rashid Khan (Afghanistan)

Rashid Khan recently became the youngest Test skipper and tasted success with a win over Bangladesh. Then he also captained the Afghans to a couple of wins in the tri-nation series. In ODIs, he was the skipper in the 2019 World Cup qualifiers in Harare. In four ODIs, Rashid has only one victory under his belt as the captain and he’ll be looking to improve on the numbers.

Kieron Pollard (West Indies)

Kieron Pollard has been appointed as the new skipper of the Caribbean team. The decision came as a surprise to many as the Trinidadian hasn’t played an ODI since October 2016. He did play in the T20I series against India though. Pollard was impressive as a leader in the CPL 2019. Back in 2013, he did captain the West Indies in a couple of ODIs, but the upcoming series will be a different challenge.

Head to Head

Matches – 6 | Afghanistan won – 3 | West Indies won – 3

Stat Attack

61– Runs Nicholas Pooran needs to complete 500 ODI runs

Broadcast Details

TV – Star Sports Select 1, Star Sports Select 1 HD

Live Streaming – Hotstar

Match Timings – 14:00 local time, 08:30 AM GMT.