India has begun the West Indies tour with a two-day warm-up game against WICB President’s XI in St. Kitts from Saturday and the batsmen got enough chance to adjust to the conditions.
The two-day match is an official one where both teams will have the chance to bat a day each with all players being allowed to play.
For Kumble, it will be a new beginning with his boys ready to hit the road in what expected to be an eventful 49-day tour across the Caribbean islands where a longer version of the game is no longer a priority due to the emergence of CPL.
Sunil Gavaskar who celebrates his 67th birthday today also believes India will not face any tough challenge in this tour as he claimed he would be very much surprised if India didn’t win the Test series against West Indies.
Speaking on his prediction for the 4-match Test series Gavaskar said, “I am not a fortune-teller to predict the outcome, but I would be surprised if India doesn’t win the series,”
The legendary batsman remained diplomatic when asked if the selection of Anil Kumble as India’s head coach surprised him, Gavaskar said that every cricketer is expected to serve the game in some capacity even after the retirement and Anil will be doing the same now. “I am not surprised at Anil applying for the job. Even though a cricketer retires from international cricket he still wants to serve the game in some capacity and Anil will be doing that now with the same distinction and determination that he brought to his cricket.”
He also believes there will be no such issue with India coming into West Indies without a bowling coach as it is Kumble’s decision to decide on how to spread the responsibilities.
He even welcomed the idea of Kumble’s appointment for just one year since, every job is now based on a trial period after which there is an extension, and he is quite sure that it will happen with the former leggie as well.
The series comprises four Tests starting with the opening match at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua from July 21 to 25, followed by 2nd Test at Kingston from July 30 to Aug 3, 3rd Test at Gros Islet from Aug 9 to 13 and fourth Test at Trinidad on Aug 18 to 22.
The Indian squad, besides Kohli, comprises Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur and Stuart Binny.
India and West Indies had their first Tests clash in 1948. They have met on 90 occasions, with West Indies winning 30 to India’s 16 and the rest being drawn.