rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » India face test of character in Windies

India face test of character in Windies

June 25, 2009 11:06 IST

India face test of character in Windies

     Next

Next
Harish Kotian

For India, it is more about redeeming pride than winning the four-match ODI series in the West Indies.

Hurt after the early exit from the ICC World Twenty20, India are keen to extract revenge for their loss against the West Indies in the tournament that paved the path for their early ouster.

There may be a huge gulf in the teams' rankings in one-dayers, with India at number three and the West Indies at number seven, but it is clear that Team India will not have things their way in the Caribbean.

India's last tour to the West Indies was a forgettable one, as they were knocked out in the first round of the 2007 50-over World Cup.

In their last ODI series there in 2006, India went down 1-4. The only surviving members of that squad are Mahendra Singh Dhoni, RP Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh.

Mohammad Kaif was the most successful batsman on that tour with 205 runs in five innings at 51.25, including three half-centuries, while Yuvraj Singh also had a decent outing with the bat, scoring 183 runs in four matches at 45.75.

The West Indies thus start the series as favourites, particularly after having outplayed India in the Super Eights match of the World Twenty20 tournament.

Their fast bowlers proved a handful for the Indian batsmen, who were found wanting against the short deliveries and those tactics could well be used by the West Indies pacers again on home soil. 


Image: Team India
Photographs: Reuters
     Next

Ojha will be a vital cog in India's bowling attack

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The pitches in the island nation have slowed over the last few years and do suit Indian batsmen, but this time India have a depleted line-up.

The absence of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar is a big blow and the new additions, in the form of Murali Vijay and S Badrinath, who didn't have a great IPL, don't look too encouraging either.

India's bowling attack will be led by Harbhajan Singh, who need to return to wicket ways soon.

In 2006 he had a poor outing, taking just three wickets in five games at an average of 3.91. His overall record against the West Indies is 23 wickets in 22 games at 36.47.

Pragyan Ojha had some good matches in the World Twenty20 and was unlucky not to play in the last few games, but he should form a vital cog in India's bowling attack.

Left-armer RP Singh showed good form during the few games he played in World Twenty20, but Ishant Sharma's struggle continued.

Comeback man Ashish Nehra has not played international cricket for nearly four years now and Praveen Kumar has also not featured in too many games in the recent past. 


Image: Pragyan Ojha
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     Next

Dhoni's form remains a concern

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

The biggest concern for India, though, is the form of their captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The right-hander struggled big time and scored just 86 runs in five matches in the World Twenty20 at 21.50.

But he is on top of the ODI rankings for quite a while now and did well in the last series in New Zealand, scoring two half-centuries.

He will also be keen to improve his poor record in the West Indies that has seen him amass just 124 runs in eight matches at 17.71.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     Next

Yuvraj will be the key batsman

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Yuvraj Singh, as usual, will hold the key to India's fortunes in the series.

He had a good outing during the World Twenty20 and his experience of touring the West Indies three times -- where he enjoys a decent record of 330 runs in 10 matches at 36.66 -- should hold him in good stead.

It will be interesting to see if India continues to persist with Rohit Sharma at the top of the order in the absence of Suresh Raina, out due to injury.

Gautam Gambhir is the only recognised opener in the squad and if Rohit does not open, it could be a toss up between the Chennai duo of Dinesh Karthik or Murali Vijay.


Image: Yuvraj Singh
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     Next

Fatigue can no longer be an excuse

Prev     More
Prev

More

India have enjoyed an extra few days' rest after being knocked out early in the World Twenty20 and fatigue should no longer be an excuse in the ODI series, starting in Jamaica on June 26.

It all depends on how they approach the series and whether Dhoni is able to shrug off his woes and lead from the front.

Indian cricket reached its nadir after their last failure in the West Indies in the World Cup and they could once again get close to that low point after another flop.

This series will be more a test of their character and mental skills than cricketing abilities.


Image: Team India
Photographs: Reuters
Prev     More