India will look to go 3-0 up in the fourth One-Day International against Windies when the teams lock horns at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound on Sunday (July 2).
After the first game was washed out, India comprehensively won the two subsequent clashes. Virat Kohli’s men claimed the second ODI in Port of Spain by 105 runs and showed great skill to adapt to the slower surface in Antigua with a 93-run win.
Should the competition have posed more of a threat, Kohli may have considered fielding the same XI and wrapping up the series before heading to the final ODI in Kingston. But Windies’ lacklustre performance means the likelihood of India making some changes to the team composition is high.
Windies: Jason Holder (capt), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Kyle Hope, Shai Hope (wk), Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Ashley Nurse, Kieran Powell, Rovman Powell.
India: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Umesh Yadav.
In fact, after going 2-0 up Kohli hinted at it, which could mean a game for Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik or Mohammad Shami, all of whom have been warming the bench.
It’s going to be quite the dilemma for Kohli given how well the unit has performed with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane rediscovering his touch and Mahendra Singh Dhoni proving he hadn’t lost his.
If anything, the captain might want to take a leaf out of Eoin Morgan’s book and sit out the next couple of games to rest his body.
Meanwhile, Windies have many gaping holes to plug in. The young unit, led by Jason Holder, hasn’t been up to scratch despite being familiar with the conditions. The bowlers have shown discipline in patches, but the bigger concern is their batters who have thrown their wickets away, more often than not in clumps.
The lack of experience in personnel is one of the reasons for the poor results over the past few months, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a good opportunity for a young squad to play with intent and prove the naysayers wrong.
It’s a tough ask at this moment, but tougher yet will be the road if they don’t get direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup.