This is not an ODI World Cup year. The series between West Indies and India is not part of the World Cup Super League. Both teams finished their previous 50-over assignments less than a week ago. So what can one expect during these three ODIs?
West Indies LLLLL (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)
In the spotlight
Nicholas Pooran was one of the few bright spots for West Indies during their white-ball series against Bangladesh. If the hosts are to challenge India, Pooran will once again have to lead from the front. The good thing from West Indies’ perspective is that their captain has a favourable record against India: 354 runs in nine innings, at an average of 44.25 and a strike rate of 107.59.
Shikhar Dhawan might be the stand-in captain for the series but his recent form with the bat hasn’t been great. In his last five ODIs, Dhawan has made 112 runs at an average of 28 and a strike rate of 61.53. It has been 20 innings since he last made a hundred in the format. In the absence of experienced players, India will want Dhawan to find his form back.
Keemo Paul didn’t bowl in the final ODI against Bangladesh after sustaining a hamstring injury. While Simmons is happy with his recovery, West Indies will take a call on his inclusion on the eve of the match. With Holder and Kyle Mayers in the squad as other seam-bowling allrounders, they may not want to rush him though. Apart from Paul, Keacy Carty could be the other one to miss out from the 13-member squad.
West Indies (probable): 1 Shai Hope (wk), 2 Brandon King, 3 Shamarh Brooks, 4 Kyle Mayers, 5 Nicholas Pooran (capt), 6 Rovman Powell, 7 Jason Holder, 8 Akeal Hosein, 9 Alzarri Joseph, 10 Gudakesh Motie, 11 Jayden Seales
India have plenty of decisions to make. Who will open with Dhawan? What will the seam-bowling attack look like? Do they pick Shardul Thakur at No. 8? They can choose from Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill to open with Dhawan. Among seamers, Mohammed Siraj, Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna and Arshdeep Singh are their options. However, Axar Patel may find it difficult to get a game with Ravindra Jadeja named the vice-captain.
India (probable): 1 Shikhar Dhawan (capt), 2 Ruturaj Gaikwad/Ishan Kishan (wk), 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Deepak Hooda, 5 Sanju Samson (wk), 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Avesh Khan/Prasidh Krishna, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Mohammed Siraj
Pitch and conditions
After Pooran criticised the pitches used for the ODI series against Bangladesh in Guyana, one expects the Queen’s Park Oval to offer a better contest between bat and ball. To Simmons, the surfaces here look better prepared, but the venue last hosted an international match in 2019. So it needs to be seen how they play out. The weather is expected to be partly cloudy with the temperature hovering around 30°C.
Stats and trivia
“He [Holder] looks fresh, he had some time out of the game. He has been bowling well for the last two days and actually batting well too. So it’s good to have him back.”
West Indies coach Phil Simmons
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo