India vs Windies, 1st Test, Preview: Settled hosts take on the ‘better’ Caribbean side
Will Holder and Co. be able to spring a surprise?
Updated - Oct 3, 2018 5:16 pm
Team India and Windies will lock horns in the first of the two-match Test series in Rajkot on Thursday. It should be the start of a new era for the hosts as an 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw is set to make his Test debut. This is a Deja vu for many of the Indian fans as 29 years ago, a similar cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar, started his career and went on to become a legend in the years to come. While Shaw’s style of batting is exactly like him, it will be interesting to see if there will be any pressure on him playing at the highest level.
The hosts are also coming off a hurting 1-4 series defeat in England and would be keen to make the home advantage count. This series comes as a welcome change for their batters to regain some confidence ahead of the even more challenging Australia tour. Virat Kohli and his men though will take the opposition lightly at their own peril.
Windies have been playing some decent Test cricket over the last few months. Their bowling attack has looked incisive while playing in their own backyard. The pitch at the Saurashtra Cricket Stadium has a greenish look to it with Team India looking to replicate the conditions on offer in Australia. However, this will bring the likes of Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel into play with the new ball.
For the first time, India have announced the 12-man group 24 hours before the match and Virat Kohli informed that they will follow this norm from now on. Hanuma Vihari and Mayank Agarwal have been left out along with Mohammed Siraj. Shardul Thakur will most probably be the 12th man with Kuldeep Yadav getting a nod ahead of him. Prithvi Shaw is set to become the 293rd Test cricketer for India with Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav forming the pace attack.
Probable XI: Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav
The big question for the visitors will be Kemar Roach‘s replacement in the playing XI who is yet to reach India after he had to go back home following his grandmother’s demise. With Holder and Gabriel already in the team, they might go in with an extra spinner to assist Devendra Bishoo. As far as the batting department is concerned, the onus will be on Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope.
The middle-order is also looking good with the presence of Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase and in-form Shane Dowrich. Though it will be interesting to see if Sunil Ambris will get a go following his scintillating ton in the warm-up game.
Probable XI: Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder (c), Keemo Paul, Devendra Bishoo, Jomel Warrican, Shannon Gabriel
Focus will be on
Prithvi Shaw (India)
All the eyes will be on the Mumbai lad and hopefully, he doesn’t get pressurized. Prithvi Shaw has thrived in all the conditions so far and he has been given a nod ahead of a more experienced Mayank Agarwal. He will play alongside KL Rahul and the coordination will be worth to witness. Shaw is known to play some aggressive style of play but the occasion shouldn’t get the better of him. This is where the heroes are born and the youngster might be one of them.
Jason Holder (Windies)
The most consistent player for the visitors. Jason Holder has improved drastically over the years in all the aspects of his game. His captaincy will be tested to the hilt in this series. Windies is high on confidence this time around and this is a much better group of Test cricketers compared to their last trip which should make life easy for the skipper. Nevertheless, Holder’s all-round contribution is needed for them to compete against the World No. 1 side.
Head to Head
Overall – 94| India won – 18 | Windies won – 30 | Draw – 46
1994 – The last instance of the Windies winning a Test match in India was way back in 1994 in Mohali.
18.94 – Ajinkya Rahane’s batting average in his last 10 Test matches. He has scored only 341 runs in the 18 innings he batted in the last one year with only a couple of half centuries.
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