India vs West Indies 1st ODI: Kohli and Co. take on Windies as pressure builds on Pant

India starts as favourite, having won the three-match T20I series 2-1, but the Windies are no pushover with their aggressive batting and potent bowling.

The focus will be on young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant who is under fire following his poor form.   -  B JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Team India will seek to keep the momentum going when it takes on the West Indies in the first ODI at the M.A Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.

Virat Kohli and his men start as favourites, having won the three-match T20I series 2-1, but the Windies are no pushover with their aggressive batting and potent bowling.

Rahul to open 

Karnataka batsman K.L. Rahul, who has been in fine form, is all set to open with Rohit Sharma after Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out due to injury. Rahul, who hammered a 56-ball 91 in the final T20I, will look to cement his place in the ODI squad.

It will be interesting to see if the team management hands Mayank Agarwal his debut cap. The Karnataka batsman, who has replaced Dhawan, has earned praise from batting coach Vikram Rathour, who has said the right-hander will be given 'opportunities.'

With Kohli hitting a purple patch at one down, Shreyas Iyer should continue to occupy the No.4 position.

READ| Pant can be a massive player once he starts getting runs, says Rathour

Pressure on Pant 

The focus will once again be on young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant who is under fire following his poor form. Rathour had earlier thrown his weight behind Pant, saying that a good knock was just around the corner.

India received a blow when Bhuvneshwar Kumar was ruled out due to a groin injury with Shardul Thakur being named as his replacement. Mohammed Shami will lead the pace attack alongside Deepak Chahar.

The Chepauk pitch tends to be on the slower side and is known to aid spinners. There are chances that spin twins Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav might feature in the playing XI for the first time since the World Cup.

"We were looking at an ideal combination that lends balance to the team and there was an option where we could use Jadeja as an all-rounder. So that really helped us. There may be occasions where depending on the conditions both (Kuldeep and Chahal) may be playing together but we have to look at the overall balance before deciding on the team," bowling coach Bharat Arun had stated.

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Formidable opponent

West Indies, meanwhile, would hope opener Evin Lewis recovers from the injury he suffered during the Mumbai T20. West Indies team manager confirmed that Lewis is being monitored ahead of Sunday's game. 

The visitor boasts a formidable batting line-up with Shai Hope recently scoring an unbeaten century against Afghanistan.

Along with Lewis and Hope, the likes of Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran pose a serious batting threat. 

Assistant coach Roddy Estwick had emphasised that West Indies batsmen need to learn to build an innings instead of being over-aggressive in their approach.

In the bowling department, Sheldon Cottrell will lead the attack along with Jason Holder. Leg spinner Hayden Walsh Jr is likely to partner Roston Chase and the spinners will have their task cut out, especially bowling to the likes of Rohit and Kohli.

The last time India played at Chepauk, Chahal and Kuldeep shared five wickets between them. The duo will eye an encore on Sunday.

Teams: India: Lokesh Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli(c), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant(w), Kedar Jadhav, Shivam Dube, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Manish Pandey, Mayank Agarwal, Shardul Thakur.

West Indies: Shai Hope(w), Sunil Ambris, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard(c), Romario Shepherd, Keemo Paul, Hayden Walsh, Khary Pierre, Alzarri Joseph, Jason Holder, Evin Lewis, Sheldon Cottrell, Brandon King

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