West Indies capable of surprises

The team is a blend of youth and stars who have sufficient experience of playing on Indian pitches.

India will do well not to under-estimate West Indies in the Test series.


In the euphoria of Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell, the West Indies cricket team has quietly got into its groove to challenge the formidable Indian side. The Caribbean visitors, in the last few encounters against India, have been beaten quite comprehensively.

However, this series will not be a cakewalk for the home side.

The West Indian side is a blend of some young players who have done well in India with the ‘A’ side, along with the stars like Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels and their flamboyant captain Darren Sammy. All their stalwarts have now played a lot of cricket in India and, apart from being well acclimatised to the playing conditions, they’ll also feel quite at home with the noisy crowds because of their experience of playing in the IPL. The team has batsmen that can change the course of the Test match through power hitting as well as players who could grind the opponents to death.

They also possess confident spinners and a young-and-upcoming pace attack.

The conventional format of cricket brings out the very best from an underdog. This West Indian side is one that can create panic on a given day as it has some extraordinarily talented cricketers.

The Indian team, quite understandably, may get lost in the ceremonies celebrating the master. I also feel that the team will be mentally in the one-day groove and adjusting to the longer format of the game could be an issue.

Controlling one’s temperament cannot be done through an on-off button and the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, M.S. Dhoni and the bowlers could have a task ahead of them.

The extended monsoon will definitely play a huge part in the preparation of wickets. The fresh grass and watered soil could lend that extra bounce and movement to the fast bowlers and appreciable spin for the slow bowlers. The short deliveries are still a concern for some Indian batsmen and even the likes of Kohli or Dhawan, with their front foot hooks, could face problems against the young speedsters from the West Indies.

India have shown that batting is their forte through some scintillating performances in the one-day series against Australia and that confidence could carry them through, but only if the wickets are nice and placid.

The crowd factor will also be an important ingredient as today’s spectators have got used to the fast pace of limited-overs cricket, and for them the only form of enjoyment is to see plenty of boundaries.

This will put some additional pressure on the likes of Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and even Tendulkar.

The selectors have done a wonderful job in persisting with the young players and retaining the talented Ajinkya Rahane and bringing in Rohit Sharma.

The time has come for them to take Indian cricket into its next phase of excellence.

The first round of Ranji Trophy matches has shown us the next generation of icons waiting in the wings in Vijay Zol, Baba Aparajith and Sanju Samson. All three of them are superbly- talented and each one of them has stamped his authority by scoring a double century. Indian cricket seems to be on a good wicket but our focus must be on beating the West Indies at home and showcasing why we are the most destructive side in world cricket.


(The writer is a former Test cricketer)


Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.


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