Team India will return to their home soil after a tough series in England when the clash against Windies in the first of the two-match Test series at Rajkot starting from October 4 (Thursday).
Meanwhile, a new-looking Indian tea, will look to bounce back and strengthen their position as the top-ranked Test team in the world. Virat Kohli named a shortlist of 12 member which proves that Prithvi Shaw is likely to make his debut for India. He will likely partner KL Rahul at the top of the order.
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Virat Kohli (India): The Indian skipper, who accumulated 593 runs in the England Tests, took a break from India’s successful Asia Cup 2018 campaign and will be itching to get back on the crease.
Kohli memorably scored a double century against the Windies in North Sound in 2016, but in 13 innings against the Caribbeans, that is the only time he has reached three figures. It means his average against the Windies is 38.61, a stark drop from his career average of 53.92. It is a stat he will want to improve on in Rajkot.
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Shai Hope (Windies): The 24-year-old is a proven match-winner for his country, especially away from home. Hope, who has not yet played against India in the longest format of the game, will be the vital cog for the visitors on tour. The right-hand batsman has an average of 43.81 in overseas conditions and will be expected to lead from the front the visitors’ efforts in Rajkot.
Pitch and Conditions
The forecast for Rajkot is for sunny, blue skies, and plenty of it. The temperature will be on the 30s when the match starts, however, it will increase as the day progresses. There are no chances of rain at all which will be delightful news for the supporters.
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This will be just the second Test at this venue. In Rajkot’s Test debut in November 2016, India and England played out a high-scoring draw. Suffice to say, this deck will be a run peddler from the start of the game.
India have broken from their tradition by naming a 12-man shortlist on the eve of the Test. The big news is that 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw is making his debut. India are back to playing just the five specialist batsmen.
The choice remains between a third spinner and a third fast bowler. If it is three fast bowlers, there could be two debuts on Thursday: Shardul Thakur is the third quick in the twelve.
Probable XI: Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav/Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav
Stuart Law confirmed that senior pacer Kemar Roach will miss the first Test owing to a bereavement in his family. However, he showed immense confidence in two new young pacers – Keemo Paul and Sherman Lewis.
The tourists already have Devendra Bishoo in their wings to go with Chase’s off-breaks, and the first signs of the wicket at Rajkot might not tempt them to play left-arm orthodox spinner Jomel Warrican.
Probable XI: Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich (wk), Jason Holder (c), Devendra Bishoo, Keemo Paul, Sherman Lewis, Shannon Gabriel
India will start as the hot favourites to win both the Tests. A draw will be like a win for the Windies. However, there is no room to take the oppositions lightly.