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West Indies vs India ODI Series Preview – Another Opportunity For The Bench To Shine

India's Prasidh Krishna celebrates the dismissal of West Indies Jason Holder during the 3rd ODI match between India and West Indies, at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad
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After beating England in England, the Indian cricket team travel to the West Indies for another white-ball tour which includes three ODIs and five T20Is. Due to the packed schedule, team India will be without their senior stars Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, and Rishabh Pant for the ODIs series, while KL Rahul misses the entire tour due to injury. These high-profile absentees give the Men in Blue another chance to test their bench strength against the West Indies, with plenty of fresh faces expected to be given an opportunity in the ODIs under the leadership of Shikhar Dhawan, who will become India’s 7th captain of 2022.

Here are three stars to watch out for in India’s three-match ODI series against the West Indies.

1. Sanju Samson


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A post shared by Sanju V Samson (@imsanjusamson)

For all his talents and abilities, it feels like a crime that Sanju Samson has only ever played a single ODI for India in his career. The Rajasthan Royals captain scored a run-a-ball 46 against Sri Lanka last year but has never been given a consistent run in the Indian cricket team over the years, despite having a ridiculous record at the domestic level and in the IPL.

With no Kohli, Pant, Pandya or Rahul on the tour to West Indies, Samson might finally get an opportunity to display his talents for India throughout the series in the middle order. Although the pitches in the Caribbean will not suit his excellent game against pace and short-pitched bowling, the West Indies don’t have any wrist-spinners that could trouble Samson. Playing against a relatively weakened bowling attack, the three matches at the Queens’ Park Oval could be the perfect opportunity for the batter to stake his claim as a permanent member of India’s white-ball set-up.

2. Prasidh Krishna


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A post shared by Prasidh Krishna (@skiddyy)

The last time India played the West Indies in a three-match ODI series, Prasidh Krishna was named the player of the series for his incredible performance with the ball. Krishna picked up nine wickets at an economy rate of 2.5 against the West Indies in the three matches in Ahmedabad earlier this year, with the pacer troubling the Men in Maroon with his hard lengths and short-pitched bowling. Krishna struggled to replicate that success in the recent series against the reigning World Champions but could thrive against a struggling West Indies batting line-up that failed to bat 50 overs in each of their three ODIs against Bangladesh this month.

3. Shubman Gill


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A post shared by Ꮪhubman Gill (@shubmangill)

Ever since his incredible emergence during the 2018 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, Shubman Gill has been tagged as the next big thing in Indian cricket (along with Prithvi Shaw). The batter earned comparisons with Virat Kohli as the future captain and mainstay of the Indian team. However, four years later, while there has been enough evidence to say that he will hold the keys of the Indian batting line-up in the middle order for the foreseeable future, Gill is yet to live up to the hype in Indian colours.

At age 22, Virat Kohli was winning World Cups for India, and Rishabh Pant was scoring Test tons away from home. Shubman Gill, on the other hand, has taken longer to mature on the international stage, playing just 3 ODI games and averaging 30 in 11 Test matches. A mixture of incredible competition in the white-ball set-ups and some technical flaws at the Test level has delayed Gill’s inevitable rise, but he could finally get his opportunity to impress in limited-overs cricket for India against the West Indies.

Gill hasn’t played an ODI for India since December 2020 against Australia, but the right-hander could be used as an opener instead of Ishan Kishan or at number 3 in the upcoming series. Gill has a terrific List A record with an average of 45 at a strike rate of 88, and three matches against a sub-par West Indies ODI team may be what he needs to make his name heard in India blue.


[Featured Image Credit: ANI]