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India vs West Indies 1st Test Preview + Dream11

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

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England vs India T20Is and ODIs. Blink. Five England vs India Tests. Blink. A successful Asia Cup 2018 campaign. Blink…. and here we are.

The action continues to come thick and fast for the Indians, with a home Test series against a West Indies side coming off a somewhat promising home season. In a series widely labeled as preparation for Australia, where a 2-0 series win to India is assumed, can West Indies be of nuisance value?


Prithvi Shaw is the beneficiary of India‘s disappointing 4-1 Test defeat in England, which forced India to make a change in the opening slot, dropping Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay. With Mayank Agarwal forced to bide his time, this might mean the end for Dhawan and Vijay, which is not the worst thing, given Dhawan can focus on white ball cricket and India can look to the future. Despite this, though, there remains a number of familiar faces in the side, and with players such as Rohit Sharma, Karun Nair, Hanuma Vihari and Mayank Agarwal knocking on the door, there is little room for error, especially for the batsmen, ahead of the tougher assignment in Australia.

On a pitch that reportedly has a greenish tinge to it in an attempt to prepare for Australia, West Indies have a pace attack coming off a good home season. Sure, the opposition here will be sterner than Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, and the loss of Kemar Roach is a blow too, but Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel in particular are in good enough touch to make a statement. Will the Windies prove to be just a stepping stone for India onto the Australian series, or will they be of real nuisance value?

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Key to an India win

Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah will be missing for India, but in home conditions, their attack will still present a major challenge to the Windies batsmen. Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav could make up the pace attack, and at their best, they can get the ball moving with both old ball and new to give the Windies batsmen real trouble.
In conjunction with the spinners, possibly a trio, the quick bowlers have a chance to stake their claim for a spot in the XI in the first Test against Australia. In regards to this game, they can both set a platform and support the spinners, who are wily customers and won’t give an inch in these conditions. Will they be too good for the Windies?
Also, despite the recent 4-1 series result flattering England, India’s batsmen weren’t quite up to the mark. Of course, form here doesn’t automatically mean runs in Australia, but with spots and reputations on the line, the batsmen need to put their foot down. Virat Kohli has been simply outstanding in 2018, but needs more support, and it will be interesting to see how the exciting opening combination of KL Rahul and Prithvi Shaw transpires. Against West Indies, it is a great opportunity for the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane also to grab the series winning feeling for the first time this calendar year.

Key to a West Indies win

What sort of fight can the Windies put up with the bat? 
The likes of Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder have bowled really well in recent times, but if the runs are not on the board, then any hope of a competitive series is long gone. A lot rests on Kragg Brathwaite at the top, who can bat long periods, Shai Hope who hasn’t quite matched his excellent form of 2017, and the promising Roston Chase and Shemron Hetmeyer. Can the Windies play well against spin and reverse swing?
Also, as mentioned, a few spots and reputations could be on the line for India, so the Windies need to be on it with the ball. Cut out the loose balls, and maintain pressure. Of course, early wickets, including that of Virat Kohli, can send shockwaves through the India camp. Shannon Gabriel in particular holds the key, but will he get the support he needs with Kemar Roach missing? What impact will Devendra Bishoo have? Remains to be seen.

Possible XIs

India have named their squad of 12 for the first Test, with Prithvi Shaw set to make his debut. The only question is whether Shardul Thakur or Kuldeep Yadav will be the final member of the bowling attack.

India possible XI: 1. Prithvi Shaw, 2. KL Rahul, 3. Cheteshwar Pujara, 4. Virat Kohli (c), 5. Ajinkya Rahane, 6. Rishabh Pant (wk), 7. Ravichandran Ashwin, 8. Ravindra Jadeja, 9. Mohammed Shami, 10. Kuldeep Yadav/Shardul Thakur, 11. Umesh Yadav

A lot depends on the seamers for West Indies, and of course the batting. Sunil Ambris could get a run after a century in the warm up game. Kemar Roach won’t be available due to family reasons.

West Indies possible XI: 1. Kraigg Brathwaite, 2. Kieran Powell, 3. Shai Hope, 4. Sunil Ambris, 5. Shimron Hetmeyer, 6. Roston Chase, 7. Shane Dowrich (wk), 8. Jason Holder (c), 9. Keemo Paul, 10. Devendra Bishoo, 11. Shannon Gabriel

Dream11

India dominate my Dream11 side, with the maximum of seven players selected. Below is my team, with a few pointers below.
India vs West Indies 1st Test Preview + Dream11 Cricket Blog CricBlog Cricket Preview
  • I really rate Shane Dowrich and Shemron Hetmeyer, so they are in my side.
  • Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli are two stalwarts, especially at home, and I think Prithvi Shaw will have a good debut.
  • Three good allrounders are in my side – Jason Holder, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin. All have good bowling and batting potential.
  • With the three seamers of Gabriel, Yadav and Shami, there is good wicket taking potential there as well.
Keen to have a go yourself? Register today!

Stats and Facts

  • This will be India’s second home Test of 2018, after beating Afghanistan.
  • Ravichandran Ashwin has scored all four of his Test centuries against West Indies.
  • West Indies have not win a Test in India since 1994.
  • India are the most dominant home side this decade, winning 30 Tests and losing just four.

Prediction

The optimists can believe West Indies can be competitive, but their bowling and batting stocks will be tested to the max in Rajkot.
They may be able to withstand the pressure for short periods, but being able to sustain it is a whole other matter. India, at home, look to be too strong. India to win.
Thanks for reading!

P.S., I have partnered with the absolutely amazing team at onlinecricstore.com, the most comprehensive Online Cricket Store you’ll see. Through me, you can enjoy discounts on 700+ products through a single code – CHARBEL5. I recommend you check it out today!

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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