India thrashed Windies in their first phase of the tour in all three departments of the game. The visitors looked clueless in Tests, however, they are a much better side in the limited overs format. Undoubtedly, it will not be a walk in the park for them as India start mapping their road towards the next year's World Cup, having gone with more or less same combination which they would like to have for the tournament.
Dinesh Karthik has been dropped following his inability to seize the crucial moments for India batting at number 4 in the Asia Cup while Rishabh Pant has been given a chance after his breathtaking show with the bat early in his Test career. He can be a valuable addition to the team as India desperately needed someone to up the ante in the middle-overs against the spinners. On the other hand, Rayudu has been clearly defined as the preferred number 4 choice going into the World Cup by the Indian captain.
“Number 4 was something we were looking for a long time and with Rayudu coming in and playing well in the Asia Cup, [by] giving him enough game-time between now and the World Cup, I think that particular slot will be sorted. He has a great one-day record already for India, so I think the batting order is sorted as far as we're concerned," he added in the press conference.
While there is an opportunity for Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami to once again establish themselves in the ODI setup. Whilst the Windies have nothing to lose and with the inclusion of some exciting prospects in Fabian Allen and Obed McCoy, they would like to catch India offguard with some good performances.
Let’s look at few key stats before the ODI series begins.
West Indies have an overall better ODI record against India in head-to-head matches but India have a 18-7 record against them in this decade.
The last time when West Indies won a bilateral ODI series against India was way back in 2006. However, India are yet to whitewash Windies in the ODI format.
India are No.2 in ODI rankings and they have lost only two matches out of their last 10 ODIs while Windies’ performance in the recent times has followed a sine curve.
Recent form (past 10 ODIs) – Most recent (Left to Right)
India – W, T, W, W, W, W, L, L, W, W
Windies – L, W, L, L, W, W, L, W, W, W
West Indies’ inexperience is clearly visible in the following table. Their most experienced man is Marlon Samuels who will play his 200th ODI at Guwahati.
In modern day ODI cricket India are a force to reckon with and their record this year in ODIs stresses their domination.
As Kohli suggested in the press conference, Rayudu, who had a splendid Asia Cup, is the answer for their number 4 quandary. In he multi-nation tournament he notched 175 runs at an average of 43.75. India have tried four options at the number 4 position this year in nut unfortunately, no player responded in a splendid fashion that opened the door for Rayudu, who will aim to cement his place in the team in the Windies series.
- MS Dhoni needs to score 51 more runs to complete 10,000 runs for India in ODIs. (Dhoni has scored 174 ODI runs while playing for Asia XI)
- Shikhar Dhawan needs to score 177 more runs in the next four ODI innings to become the second quickest to score 5,000 runs in ODIs.
- Ravindra Jadeja needs to amass 38 more runs to become the third Indian player with 2000-plus ODIs runs and 150-plus wickets.
- Virat Kohli needs to score 221 more runs to become the fastest player to score 10,000 runs in ODIs.