India vs West Indies 2018: After clinching the Asia Cup title for a record 7th time, team India will now focus their sights to end the last quarter in style. Before the daunting Australia tour that beckons them coming November, India first welcome West Indies. The contest against the Caribbean would be a perfect test for the Aussie challenge. We take a look at this enticing tie between two old nemeses.
India vs West Indies History
Traditionally, West Indies have been a dominant force in their tour of India. This came as no surprise, as the WI golden generation that won them two back to back world cups (1975, 1979). They won the 1958-59 test (3-0), 1966-67 test (2-0), 1974-75 test (3-2) and 1983-84 test and ODI series (3-0 and 5-0 respectively).
Among all them, the 1983-84 India vs West Indies series was the most noteworthy. The West Indians had suffered a surprising loss against India and this tour was meant to provide some respite.
The Caribbean went on to crush Indians by 3-0 in the six-match series- the worst defeat ever for a host at that time. They also won the Charminar Cup (ODI series), winning 5-0 outright. Thus, the series came to be known as the Revenge series.
The recent phase, though, the story has been very different. It has been a cakewalk for the Indians, with the hosts condemning the visitors literally every time they visited. They won all the 2006-07, 2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-2015 ODI series (3-1, 4-1, 2-1 and 2-0 respectively). In tests too, they have won all the series they have played in this period. India’s dominance was heavily backed by the legendary batting line including Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, and Sehwag.
WI are yet to officially announce the team for the series.
Shikhar Dhawan will miss the two-match test series. This may be partly due to a disastrous outing in England, and partly due to an exhausting Asia Cup. His partner, Rohit Sharma also won’t be playing.
Likewise, the pacer duo of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah would follow him and be rested. Jointly they have scalped 14 wickets in 4 matches in Asia Cup.
Thes omissions would mean some newer faces would get a rare chance to show their talents. Mayank Agarwal and Mohammed Siraj are notable names among the list.
Agarwal has had an exceptional Ranji trophy season, scoring 1160 runs in 8 matches. Siraj, on the other hand, was recalled for taking an impressive 41 wickets from 8 matches.
As the tests could possibly be a screening test for the Australia tour, everyone would be conscious to give their best.
Indian Captain Virat Kohli will be back in action after an extended rest. However, Prithvi Shaw and Hanuma Vihari both retained the spots they earned before the England tour.
Squad: Virat Kohli (C), KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (V-C), Prithvi Shaw, Mayank Agarwal, Rishab Pant, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 29, 2018
West Indies have not been impressive in their one-day exploits. They lost the one-day series against Asia Cup finalists Bangladesh and New Zealand. More disappointingly, they have also lost twice against the minnows Afghanistan in the World Cup qualifiers.
The main culprit has been their underperforming batting attack. Out of those 8 ODIs, they have lost more than 9 wickets on 7 occasions. This is a statistic they would definitely want to change.
In contrast, their bowling has been more effective. In 2018, the WI bowlers had an average of 18.04 with the ball. That makes them the best bowling attack of 2018. India, on the other hand, sits at rank 5 in the list with an average of 25.25 (in 9 matches).
Indian witnessed a relatively successful campaign at home, but not quite so overseas. In ODIs, they were victorious for against Sri Lanka (2-1) and South Africa (5-1). But they struggled to perform in England, losing the series by 2-1. In the sole major test series of 2018 also against England, they lost by a margin of 4-1.
Nevertheless, having seen themselves conquering the subcontinent, Indians would now be hoping to come back to the winning ways in the sport’s traditional form, the tests.
The first test starts on 4 October.