Last time the Indian cricket team was in the West Indies, there were talks of how Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli could be the coach-captain partnership India needed. A pair with the professionalism of Kumble and the dedication of Kohli can take the team to greater heights. They did as well, winning Test series against West Indies and then at home against New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia.
A year later, we are staring at a different picture. Kumble has stepped down as the coach of the Indian team after ‘difference in opinion’ with captain Kohli. His controversial exit has made more headlines than the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 which India lost to Pakistan.
Kumble took charge of the team just before India’s tour of West Indies for Tests last year and he stepped down just before the team’s tour to the same country for an ODI series. But India still remain the favourites, like they were in 2016.
For the five ODIs, India have rested Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah from the Champions Trophy squad. India finished the second best team in the tournament and will look to forget about their dismal performance in the final where they lost to Pakistan by 180 runs.
West Indies, with their attacking set of players, do pose a big threat to India in ODIs. They will like to overcome their loss against Afghanistan in the first ODI of their three-match series. West Indies were rattled as leg-spinner Rashid Khan took seven wickets. They won the second ODI but the third was washed out and the series remained undecided.
Kohli, who has been made the villion in the coach-captain issue, will like to lead the team from the front and hope for 5-0 whitewash. The batting line-will pose a big challenge to Windies bowlers as opener Shikhar Dhawan is in good form as he scored most runs the Champions Trophy. Kohli finished fifth best. The middle order has the experience of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh while Hardik Pandya will provide the late burst to the batting.
India have a lot of players who did not get a chance in the Champions Trophy and Mohammad Shami is one such bowler. He will like to make the most of the chance he gets. Also waiting to get a chance is Ajinkya Rahane. He may open the batting as Rohit has been rested. Rishabh Pant can be tried as well.
West Indies do not have much experience amongst them but can be a strong team at home. Jason Holder will like his players to play without any pressure and perform their best against a side which is ranked six places above them in the rankings.
Squads: India – Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav
West Indies: Jonathan Carter, Miguel Cummins, Alzarri Joseph, Jason Mohammed, Kieran Powell, Jason Holder, Kesrick Williams, Devendra Bishoo, Roston Chase, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell.