IND vs WI T20I series: A chance to identify World Cup players

The focus will be on youngster Ishan Kishan who fetched big bucks at the IPL auction as India meets Windies in a three-match series from Wednesday.

Published : Feb 15, 2022 18:36 IST , Kolkata

Virat Kohli during a training session in Kolkata.
Virat Kohli during a training session in Kolkata.

Virat Kohli during a training session in Kolkata.

It’s an extended winter in Kolkata. Chilly winds have accompanied the onset of spring. At the Eden Gardens, which lies close to the river, trust the bowlers to have an edge as India meets Windies in the first T20I of the three-match series on Wednesday.

There will be swing on offer, and looking at the amount of day-night cricket played in India, the players are used to the dew.

India captain Rohit Sharma wants to hand opportunities to the T20 World Cup probable players. And this series is the best platform to start the proceedings against a formidable opponent. West Indies is the breeding ground of big-hitters and all-rounders.

READ: Rohit Sharma requests the media to stop hunting for Virat Kohli

The two-time World Cup champion will field the same squad that beat England 3-2 at home recently. It is essentially 80 per cent of the ODI group besides Rovman Powell, Dominic Drakes, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell and Kyle Mayers who joined the team in Kolkata.

Dominic, son of former Windies international Vasbert Drakes, was the hero for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League final in 2021. Even Chase rose through the CPL ranks. Powell had raised his stakes with a hundred in the World Cup 2019 qualifier game against Ireland in Harare. And last month, the batter smashed a 53-ball 107 against England.

"We want to do well each and every time we step out on the field. From a one-day perspective, it didn’t go how we wanted it to. Come tomorrow, hopefully we can deliver the plans we have. For us, it’s about consistency. We had a good series against England. A couple of times with the bat and at the back end of the innings, we could’ve been better at executing. Our fielding performance can go up a notch. And try to be as consistent as possible from a batting perspective. We have not been consistent at all. That’s a fact. We want to put it right in the limited opportunities in the shorter format of the game," said Windies captain Kieron Pollard.


Among the Indians, the focus will be on dashing left-hander Ishan Kishan who fetched big bucks at the IPL auction this weekend. The wicketkeeper-batter was the most expensive at Rs 15.25 crore as Mumbai Indians acquired back his services.

Kishan is likely to open the innings with Rohit unless the skipper decides to test Venkatesh Iyer on top of the order. The southpaw from Madhya Pradesh has fared better as an opener in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders against potent bowling attacks. 

Superstar Kohli will be hungry for runs, and it could be his series.

The middle-order looks solid with Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant.

It remains to be seen if India decides to play both Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur for batting depth. Mohammed Siraj could be the third seamer. Fast bowlers have excelled on this strip in the recent past.

Kuldeep Yadav, who has a hat-trick on this ground in an ODI in 2017, will be expected to make the XI and partner Yuzvendra Chahal. 

The captain has made it clear that IPL is played for two months a year, and the rest of the 10 months is all about playing for India. "It was understood that guys will go through ups and downs, some emotional feeling within themselves on which team they will play for in the IPL. But that was done the day before yesterday, we had a great meeting with everyone and we asked them to focus on the colour blue for the next two weeks," Rohit said ahead of the T20I opener.

Holder, who picked up four wickets in as many balls against England in the last series, will be a key player for the tourists. He also hit a fifty in the first ODI against India. India leads the head-to-head record against Windies 10-6.

The teams

India (Predicted XI):  R Sharma (c), I Kishan, V Kohli, S Yadav, S Iyer, R Pant (wk), S Thakur, D Chahar, Y Chahal, K Yadav, M Siraj

Windies (Predicted XI):  B King, K Mayers, R Shepherd, N Pooran (wk), K Pollard (c), R Powell, J Holder, F Allen, O Smith, A Hossain, S Cottrell 

Match starts: 7 pm

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