On the extremely tedious nature of the pitches in the Caribbean, batting will definitely be a task too cumbersome in the upcoming series between the hosts and India. The last time India toured West Indies in 2011 for a test series, the legendary Rahul Dravid stood out as India’s best batsman with an aggregate of 251 runs in 3 games with one century to his name. It must be noted that the pitches back then were so unpredictable that Dravid stood out as the only Indian to reach the three-figure mark in the series.
This Indian outfit, led by the ever energetic Virat Kohli, may not be too experienced, but are talented with vibrant energy. This side so far has achieved tremendous success as series wins against Sri Lanka away from home and against South Africa at home stood out. With a new season beginning and 17 tests to follow, the Indian batting will have to be at its best if the side is to embark on a successful journey.
The hosts too have a few dangerous batsmen in their side and clearly, southpaw Darren Bravo holds the key for the West Indies. Below, we analyze the five batsmen to watch out for in the upcoming test series between West Indies and India.
- M. Vijay:
With an average of just 12 in this part of the globe after a sample size of 3 games, the elegant Indian opener will be eager to improve his numbers. When India last toured here, Vijay opened alongside left-hander and fellow statesman Abhinav Mukund. Vijay had a dreadful outing back then as he struggled against Ravi Rampaul on the sluggish wickets. The right-hander had such an appalling series that he was overlooked for the England tour that followed. 5 years later, Vijay is among the most improved players around and has developed his game commendably. To achieve success in the Caribbean, a batsman needs to have a lot of patience. Fair to say, Vijay has that in his arsenal.
- Darren Bravo:
The spotlight and credits might be reserved for the likes of Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and Joe Root in the modern day, but Bravo has been a deserving nominee among the elite list. The southpaw displays skills showcased by all-time great Brian Lara and at times seems to be a direct reflection of the great Trinidadian. His record against India has been fascinating as well with 2 centuries associated with his account. In the past, Bravo has struggled against Indian offie R. Ashwin and this time around too, his battle with Ashwin will pretty much sum up West Indies’ fortunes.
- Ajinkya Rahane:
Rahane has indisputably been India’s best touring member in the current setup of individuals. With an average of 57 in Australia, 54 in New Zealand and 69.66 in South Africa; batting in alien conditions is unquestionably not an issue for the riveting right-hander. When in full flow, Rahane is a complete delight to watch as his orthodox batting is a treat to the eyes. He has toured West Indies in the past in 2012 with the India A setup, and that experience would be a valuable one for him. With the series against West Indies being India’s last overseas test assignment for a while, expect Rahane to be at his best.
- KL. Rahul:
Rahul to this point has been India’s best batsman after the two warm-up games in the Caribbean. 2016 has been a breakthrough year for the Karnataka batsman as he stunned one and all with his performances in the IPL. His ODI debut in Zimbabwe where he got a century was simply outstanding and the 24-year-old will be eager to build upon that. He is likely to get the opener’s slot alongside M. Vijay, keeping the flamboyant Shikhar Dhawan out of the equation. He already has two tons to his name in the five tests he has featured for India so far and both have been away from home. Rahul’s career could take off in some style if he ends up with a fine tour of the West Indies.
- Virat Kohli:
Ahead of the all important series, all the focus is on India’s eternally dynamic captain Virat Kohli. Kohli didn’t begin his previous test series against South Africa ideally as he failed to convert the starts. However, at his home turf in Delhi, he was unfortunate to miss out on the three figure mark as he was dismissed for 88. After having a stellar 2016 so far where he has ruled the roost, the time is ideal for Kohli to stamp his authority in the ultimate form of the game once and for all. People have often alleged that Kohli hasn’t been too consistent in tests. There would be no better place than the West Indies to prove this theory wrong and lead India by example.