The cricket activities set to begin in Dominica on Wednesday can be described as a competition between two sides with contrasting achievements.
Although the host team’s troubles might be attributed to financial and administrative limitations as well as a lack of quality and committed players, India has routinely underperformed in prestigious competitions despite the BCCI’s financial strength and administrative resources.
This raises several questions as India continues to stumble in these major events, despite boasting the world’s wealthiest pool of talent, which consistently produces exceptional players. Expectations of India performing well in major tournaments are at an all-time low, although their frequent faltering raises concerns.
Even more worrying is the erosion of West Indies cricket teams at the second-tier level, particularly in the Test format.
India vs. West Indies
The 50-over World Cup in South Africa was already guaranteed for them before the campaign had even begun, so they won’t be able to travel to India for the start of the significant event in October.
Many people have already made predictions about the outcome of the impending two-test series, to the point where even Sunil Gavaskar has said, “The West Indies team of today, you can go a day before the start of a test match and still beat them.” But lately, particularly at home, West Indies has struggled in the lengthier format.
While there is no doubt that India will start strong as formidable contenders, the host team has a few players who can surprise one or two opponents.
West Indies’ decline in Test cricket with the red ball and India’s recent dominance in head-to-head contests have made the upcoming series an intriguing affair. West Indies have lost their last four Test matches, with their last victory against India occurring in May 2002 in Kingston, Jamaica. The series has become unusually less significant, with limited hype surrounding it, including three One-Day Internationals and five T20Is (two of which are scheduled in Florida). It can be forgiven for not receiving much attention as the most-followed cricket team prepares for their next assignment.
India vs. West Indies
Since the arrival of the West Indies after the WT20, their most notable victories have come against England twice and Pakistan once, making it difficult to overcome them in familiar conditions.
Over the past four years, they have won nine tests and lost fifteen, but on India’s most recent visit, they have won four and lost three.
A significant turnaround will depend largely on their bowlers, especially their pace attack.
Even in the last series, India placed a great deal of trust in individuals like Ravichandran Ashwin to perform, as the squad struggled when these guys were absent.
His famous nickname might catch your attention, but the 27-year-old player has already scored two centuries in his first six Test matches. His initial performances with Kraigg Brathwaite unsettled the Australian team on the previous tour, and there are indications, including his stance, that he might have inherited the determination and temperament from his illustrious father.
As the vice-captain, his position carries additional responsibility. Returning with three centuries and an average of over 30 in 54 Test matches means there aren’t many viable options for the selectors.
Joshua Da Silva
The wicketkeeper-batsman for West Indies frequently steps up to the plate due to the top order’s fragility. He displayed his prowess against England in a memorable partnership with Jason Holder, which scripted a famous victory. If there’s a collapse or the need for an unexpected hero, Da Silva can play the role of a faithful assistant.
He has played only nine matches in his fledgling career, with an average of less than 40, which may not immediately grab attention. However, his double century suggests that he can score big when he steps onto the field. According to team mentor Brian Lara, his style of play and attitude make him capable of excelling at the highest level.
All-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall
Experts often praise him for his ability to deceive, filling the void left by flamboyant players. His size attracts attention, and he can hit the ball a long way. However, as an off-spinner, his skill is crucial for the team, especially with Roston Chase not in the squad.
As the former captain in all formats, he has remained a shining light in his 62 Test matches. A batting average of less than 30, slightly higher than his bowling average, places him in the category of a genuine all-rounder.
He is an essential member of the side with 155 wickets under his belt, eight five-wicket hauls, and three centuries versus England.
Holder had a below-par performance in the recent IPL, and he will be eager to rectify that record.
He attracts attention with his physique and has the ability to strike big blows. But as an off-spinner, his skill is vital for the team now that Roston Chase is not in the side.
An experienced aggressor, the 35-year-old player has taken 261 wickets in 77 Test matches, capable of dismissing top players with the new ball. He can move the ball away from right-handed batsmen and is skilled in reverse swing.