With just over two months remaining until the ODI World Cup, India will look to resume their form in the series opener against the West Indies on Thursday.
Due to several regular players in the Indian team still recovering from various injuries, this series provides an opportunity for players like Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, and Umran Malik to strengthen their case for inclusion in the home ODI World Cup squad.
With Shreyas Iyer unavailable due to injury, Suryakumar Yadav is likely to be given a chance to bat at number four, despite having registered three consecutive ducks in the ODIs against Australia in March. Additionally, with KL Rahul recovering from a right thigh injury, Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson will be competing for the wicketkeeper’s spot in the playing eleven.
Kishan, the left-handed batsman, hasn’t been able to replicate the sensational form he displayed during his double-hundred against Bangladesh in Chattogram last year. On the other hand, Samson has shown promising performances in the limited opportunities he has received in ODIs, and now he has a chance to showcase consistent performances during the three consecutive matches in the Caribbean.
With Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja expected to be part of the playing XI, the team management faces a decision between the wrist-spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal for the second spinner’s role.
Furthermore, India must consider if Umran Malik, who has performed better in ODIs than T20Is, can be a game-changing pace-bowling option alongside Mohammed Siraj, with either Jaydev Unadkat or Mukesh Kumar potentially being the third pacer.
On the other side, West Indies sees this series as an opportunity for a fresh start, aiming to regain their status as a formidable force in ODIs after failing to qualify for this year’s ODI World Cup through the Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.
Shai Hope and Brandon King will lead the batting, and the return of Shimron Hetmyer provides a significant boost. Hetmyer, who hasn’t played ODIs for West Indies since July 2021, boasts an impressive average of 45.45 against India.
With Jason Holder, Keemo Paul, and Nicholas Pooran absent, the West Indies may experiment with players like Gudakesh Motie, Yannic Cariah, Alick Athanaze, and Jayden Seales as they aim to rebuild their ODI squad while India focuses on World Cup preparations.
Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik, and Mukesh Kumar.
West Indies squad
Shai Hope (captain), Rovman Powell (vice-captain), Alick Athanaze, Yannic Cariah, Keacy Carty, Dominic Drakes, Shimron Hetmyer, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Jayden Seales, Romario Shepherd, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas.