Predicted XI: India’s Tour of West Indies

Sudipta / 26 June 2016

Virat Kohli will lead Indian team after eight months of limited over cricket will back in the Test mode. Last time India played a Test series at home, they humiliated South Africa and broke their unbeaten Test  record. Kohli’s first Test tour was in Bangladesh where the only one Test match was washed away due to monsoon rain.

The first Test in the Caribbean tour will start on 21 July at Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua. The Indian squad will resume their preparation for West Indie tour on June 29 at National Cricket Team.

After India’s disastrous Australia tour, captain MS Dhoni bid the Test cricket goodbye in 2015. So with no hesitation, BCCI gave the baton of captaincy to Virat Kohli, who led India in the first Test at Adelaide where India lost the match from a winning position.

Virat’s first competitive series was in Sri Lanka where India defeated Sri Lanka 2-1 and helped India to win the series after two decades.

India since winning the World Cup 2011, have had two disastrous Test tour in England and Australia, while at home they lost to England. India’s only victory came against a second-string West Indies side in 2011.

Back home criticism riddled MS Dhoni and Indian players. Dhoni had no option but to give up the captaincy.  The timing of his decision to bid the game goodbye surprised many.

Now under the new captain, and a new coach Anil Kumble and a bunch of youngsters, India is eyeing a rise in Test cricket. The BCCI also wants to focus on the Test cricket. The schedule of the home series against New Zealand, England, and Australia prove that.

The four-match Test series will be a good preparation for the Indian boys before the long home series in the winter which will be harder than WI tour.

Though, on slow, low and turning West Indies wickets, it will not be an easy tour for India as the rejuvenated West Indies will pose a challenge for India.

Devendra Bishoo, Sunil Narine, and Jerome Taylor in West Indies’ last two series against Australia and England bowled really well and fought toe to toe against their fancied opponents to the surprise of many.

So the young Indian squad, who surpassed the transition phase, will have a good challenge ahead.

With depth in the batting department, Indian batsmen will love to play Devendra Bishoo’s  leg spin and Jerome Taylor’s lighting fast delivery.

However, Indian top order batsman Murali Vijay, captain Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are familiar with the both slow and fast wicket.

Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara have played well on slow and turning wickets of Sri Lanka and India.

Virat failed at home series against  South Africa on tailored pitches. He scored a hundred in Sri Lanka and two in Australia. The upcoming series will test his both batting and captaincy skills against the rejuvenated West Indies who qualified for the triangular series final with Australia and South Africa being the other two teams.

Indian bowling attack will get suitable conditions in West Indies. With Mohammad Shami back in the ranks and leg-spinner, Amit Mishra is in the team , West Indies pitches will suit them. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra can virtually own this series and Shami will likely make his presence felt as he back in the team after he ruled out from Indian squad  due to knee operation after the 2015 World Cup semifinal.

The tussle will be between Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin because Mishra will be India’s main spinner with his leg spin set to prove effective on friendly West Indies pitches.

Predicted line up: Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli (C), Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Wriddhiman Shaha (wk), Ami Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar