After having won the T20I series by a margin of 2-1, the Indian team will face West Indies in the first ODI of the three-match series starting from this afternoon at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. This will be India’s first ODI after the series that they played in the Caribbean post the World Cup. It would be interesting to witness in what dynamic does the team shape up for the 50-overs game that they haven’t been playing much in recent times.
Three key players for India:
1: Rohit Sharma:
Rohit has been a stellar form this year and that compounded and further emphasized by the five centuries that he scored during the course of the World Cup in England. He is in a sort of peerless touch, a form that is so imperious that it needs to elongate and made use of for as long as possible. He even scored an excellent 70 runs in the final T20I at Wankhede. Against West Indies too, Rohit Sharma would have the mantle to provide a steady, solid start that converts into something rollicking as the innings progresses. The sheer effortlessness with which he presents those strokes on the field means that the side would most definitely rely on him to play a pivotal role in the opening ODI of the series.
2: Shreyas Iyer:
Shreyas Iyer had almost cemented his spot with a couple of very impressive half-centuries in the series against West Indies. He is someone who has shown the intent to dominate and take on the spinners in the middle overs that makes him a difficult batsman to tackle in the middle overs. Iyer looks a bit suspect against raw pace but considering that he is a middle-order batsman, it is essential that he will be facing most of the deliveries against the slower bowlers against whom strike rotation and the will to milk out runs in abundance would be the most crucial factor. From the signs that he has shown in the few international matches he has played in, Iyer is someone who wouldn’t think twice before dancing down the track to send a big one over the ropes with the willow and that’s what makes him such an exciting figure in that number four position.
Shami will have to lead the bowling attack in Bhuvi's absence. Image: BCCI
3: Mohammed Shami:
Bhuvneshwar Kumar had to pull out of the series a couple of days ago due to an injury and Shardul Thakur was roped in his as his replacement. With Jasprit Bumrah already sidelined, the Indian pace attack now completely is in the shoulders of Mohammed Shami who would have to take the onus to deliver well both at the start of the innings and then take wickets in the end. Shami has endured a resurgence of sorts in recent times and was in an imperious form in the World Cup. He is bowling flawlessly, generating zipping pace, incisiveness, movement through the ball and all this at a wonderfully consistent rate. He will undoubtedly be tasked with scalping a couple of wickets whenever the situation turns a bit tricky.
Factors that will decide the game for India:
How do the new guns turn up?
Mayank Agarwal was brought in as a replacement for Shikhar Dhawan some days ago and it was richly deserved too considering how brilliant a form was he in both the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Agarwal has the ability to tear apart the bowling attack right from the start and then is equally dominant against the spinners and that makes it clear that he would be comfortable to score runs in abundance whenever his chance arises. He is someone who has diligently toiled hard for years in the domestic circuit and it is heartening to see someone of that work-ethic and caliber to finally get the chance that he deserves. Shivam Dube could replace Kedar Jadhav at that number six spot too, and it would be interesting to see how Dube reacts to being brought in the 50-overs side after his exploits with Mumbai. He scored an excellent half-century in the second T20I against the same opposition some days ago but whether he is able to convert a similar level of performance in ODIs remains to be seen.
Mayank Agarwal has to step up big time in the series. Image: BCCI
Can the West Indies’ batting order battle it out for fifty overs?
There was a norm noticed during the time of the World Cup that the West Indies often flattered to deceive because their batsmen lacked the patience to play against a qualitative bowling attack for the course of fifty overs. They were unable to rotate the strike, pace an innings and in the absence of such basic commonsense often succumbed to the pressure exerted on them. Now, with Kieron Pollard being the captain, he would be banked upon to steer the innings effectively in the middle overs. However, Shai Hope is someone who is capable of batting the length of fifty overs, gradually build his innings and take the team to a challenging total or surpass the target. Can he do that today? It remains to be seen.
Predicted Indian playing XI:
Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami
Venue and Timings:
Date: 15th December 2019
Time: 1:30 PM IST
Venue: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
The match will be broadcast across Star’s multiple channels and can also be streamed live on Hotstar.