Defending champions of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, West Indies, are settling to the new leadership of Kieron Pollard, and the three-match series in India will present them with a tough challenge, starting today in Hyderabad.
West Indies will have to play their best quality of cricket if they are to get off to a winning start against India, an opponent against whom they have lost each of their last six T20Is, including three matches hosted by them only four months ago.
Coming off a 2-1 loss to Afghanistan recently, the visitors won’t be doing too well in the confidence department either. During that series, the Windies batsmen seemed to struggle against seamers and India have a wealth of fast bowling talent, both experienced and otherwise, who will look to probe this apparent weakness.
While Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are proven match-winners, Deepak Chahar and Shivam Dube have done remarkably well in their limited opportunities so far. And with severe competition for fast bowling spots in the Indian set up, less than a year out of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia, expect them to be firing on all cylinders. If West Indies do deal with the quicks well, they will have to contend with the quality spin attack comprising of Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav.
The onus will be on the experienced West Indies batsmen to lead the way in countering a fine Indian attack. To that end, Pollard himself will be a crucial figure and as will Evin Lewis, both of whom have a good deal of IPL experience having routinely faced bowling of such calibre.
The visitors have a strong T20 bowling attack. Kesrick Williams is the wily seamer with nifty variations, while Keemo Paul and Sheldon Cottrell can make things happen with pace and bounce. The leg-spin of Hayden Walsh adds another dimension to the attack.