World T20 champions West Indies will face Pakistan in the first 1st T20I at the Kensington Oval, Barbados to kick off the long tour which consists of 4 T20Is, 3 ODIs and 3 Tests.

It will be a clash between two teams who are currently undergoing through a lean patch. Speaking of the entire tour overall, the focus will be on improving the rankings in the ODIs for both West Indies and Pakistan. The straightforward measure to achieve it would be by putting up some great winning performances in the upcoming games.

The hosts West Indies will seek to erase the 0-3 whitewash they suffered at the hands of England recently two weeks ago while Pakistan will also have similar intentions of getting back in the winning rhythm after losing both the Test and the ODI series in Australia.

Pakistan will certainly draw confidence from their performance when they were here in West Indies the last time around in 2013. West Indies,

On the other hand, the Windies will hope that the return of T20 stars like Kieron Pollard, Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine will have an positive impact.

Team Composition:

West Indies would rue the fact that they would be without Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell. Bravo is still nursing his hamstring injury while Russell is serving a ban for disobeying doping rules. This makes the West Indies stand without two of the world’s best all-rounders. However, while Carlos Brathwaite will be without the two star all-rounders, the hosts will benefit from the return of Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree and Lendl Simmons. Their experience and impact will be key to the hosts putting themselves in a dominant position. The presence of Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor also adds more strength to the unit.

All the above-mentioned names will certainly form the core of the starting XI tomorrow. Skipper Carlos Brathwaite also adds variety with his all-round capability and will be Kieron Pollard’s support in the middle overs. Jason Mohammed, the 30-year-old batsman who struck back-to-back fifties earlier this month in the series whitewash by England, has been called up to the West Indies T20I squad for the first time. He will be up against Jason Holder for a place in the side.

Pakistan could have brought a stronger side had the PSL spot-fixing scandal not taken place. The alleged involvement of regular internationals Sharjeel Khan and Mohammad Irfan has prevented the PCB from taking them on the tour as the duo face investigation. But, this setback has opened the door for young names to break in the squad. The highly rated 18-year-old Shadab Khan will the man to watch out for in the upcoming matches. Veteran Mohammad Hafeez also makes a comeback and will mostly open the inning with super talented Babar Azam.

Both the top class all-rounders – Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz – will play together. Both have been match winners in the past. The depth and the variety they add to the XI will be vital to match the all-rounders West Indies has with them. In the fast bowling department, the brainy Sohail Tanvir will be leading the attack along with Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali.

Probable XI:

West Indies: Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Marlon Samuels, Chadwick Walton (wk), Carlos Brathwaite (C), Kieron Pollard, Jason Mohammad/ Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree, Jerome Taylor, Kesrick Williams

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Zakir, Sarfaraz Khan (WK/C), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz

Stats:

  • Mohammad Hafeez has taken 46 wickets and needs 4 more to achieve the 50 wickets milestone

Who said what?

“If you look at my numbers, I think I deserve to be in the Pakistan team. Good and bad days do come but when you are a proven player, you surely get more chances,” Mohammad Hafeez.

“West Indies need someone to turn things around,” Brian Lara.

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