Upbeat West Indies hunt for consistency


West Indies are an erratic one-day team. They can be prone to self-destruction. West Indies are an endearing one-day team. Their batting line-up boasts the kind of power that excites most followers of cricket, and they have a number of interesting characters in there. Addressing this split-personality issue would be high on the visitor’s agenda with the World Cup on the horizon, and they took a step towards that in Kochi despite being without a few first-choice players.

They bucked a perception of their batsmen being allergic to singles – there were 92 of them in a total of 321 – and their bowlers harnessed the advantage of a huge total well. Sustaining a performance like that has been a problem though as a record of 18 wins against 20 losses over the past two years suggests.

India would want to orchestrate a recurrence of those problems. Their go-to method for that at home is to strangle the opposition by spin. But R Ashwin, who has bowled 85 overs with an economy rate of 5.34 in the last 12 months at home, has been rested for this series. They do, however, have Ravindra Jadeja, who has gone for 5.23 an over in that period. That is why MS Dhoni said he was more concerned with zeroing in on his seam bowlers for the World Cup. Yet, as Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin showed, if India’s spinners are attacked they can be coaxed into bowling flatter and quicker, and in essence limiting their chances of turning the ball.

Another strength-turned-concern for India is the form of their top order. Virat Kohli’s weakness outside off stump has followed him home from England. Ambati Rayudu contributed to his own dismissal when he ran down and swiped to mid-on. Shikhar Dhawan was not as fluent as he normally is but mustered the only notable contribution with 68. India would hope Kochi was just a blip on the radar.

Form guide

India LLWWW (Completed matches, most recent first)

West Indies WWWWL

Watch out for

Mohammed Shami is one of India’s bowlers who has been tasked with handling the death overs. He can dig those yorkers in at the batsmen’s boots, but when they go awry, they really go awry. A pin-point yorker uprooted Kieron Pollard’s leg stump, but another attempt at it offered Denesh Ramdin a very high full toss that was dispatched over point for six. India would hope he cultivates better consistency before the World Cup.

Sulieman Benn is the only specialist spinner West Indies have on this tour. His height has made him awkward to deal and he marries that with good accuracy. Subcontinent conditions will give him turn as well. He was needed for only five overs in Kochi and conceded only 16. He might expect to bowl a few more in Delhi.

Team news

With Mohit Sharma’s injury, India’s bowling will need a makeover. Ishant Sharma has been roped in as replacement and might get to play straightaway. Dhoni was happy with his bowlers in Kochi, but there might be a temptation to swap out Amit Mishra, who conceded 72 in 10 overs, for chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav.

India (likely): 1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Amit Mishra/Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Ishant Sharma/Umesh Yadav, 11 Mohammed Shami

West Indies made do with a make-shift opening combination in the first ODI, with Lendl Simmons recovering from a back injury. Unless he has regained fitness, they might keep to the same XI.

West Indies (likely): 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 D Ramdin (wk), 6 Kieron Pollard 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Andre Russell, 9 Sulieman Benn, 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Jerome Taylor

Pitch and weather

The pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla has received some bad press in recent times. Delhi captain Gautam Gambhir wanted three of his home games in the last Ranji season shifted elsewhere in search of an outright result. The curator hopes to change that image and has said he was preparing a surface on which batsmen can trust the bounce and bowlers can enjoy good carry. On the eve of this match, the pitch was reported to be quite green, but that was expectedly only to hold it together and would be shaved off. The weather is expected to be sunny, but later on dew is expected to be a factor again.

Stats & trivia

Despite West Indies being regular visitors to India, the two teams have met only once in Delhi since the turn of the century – a Test in 2011

Virat Kohli is 79 runs away from becoming the fourth India batsman to score 1000 runs against West Indies.


“Those six innings that I failed [in the England Tests] probably will help me to play 50 good innings.”

India batsman Shikhar Dhawan

“Our challenge is to see if we can repeat our success from the previous ODI or come close with a good performance.”

West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo