By Aakash Kumar
New Delhi, Aug 3 (IANS) Following the heartbreaking exit at the World Cup in England, Team India will now be competing against West Indies in their next assignment. The two teams will compete in three T20Is and three ODIs beginning August 3. After that, the two teams will begin their ICC World Test Championship campaign in the two-match series which starts from August 22.
The selectors have included a number of young faces in the squad, especially for the limited-overs leg of the tour.
India can expect a tough competition in the limited-overs leg for the West Indies. However, when it comes to Tests, the Indian team looks much strong as compared to the hosts.
IANS does a SWOT analysis of Team India:
When it comes to strengths, batting has always been India biggest weapon. And it will be no different against the Windies. Left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan, who is back after an injury, is expected to return to the opening slot along side Rohit Sharma. Skipper Virat Kohli has been impressive in the last three-four years and will continue to do so when it comes to the number three spot.
K.L. Rahul and Rishabh Pant will be huge assets, especially in the limited-overs leg of the tour. For the two-Test series, Cheteshwar Pujara, who was Player of the Series in Australia, will hold the Indian batting line-up.
In Ravindra Jadeja and Krunal Pandya, the Men in Blue have all-rounders who have decent skills with both bat and ball. In fact, Jadeja, who almost took India to the finals in the World Cup, will be a vital cog of the team in Hardik Pandya's absence.
The spin attack comprising Rahul Chahar, Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar will also come in handy in the three T20Is, the two of which will be played at the spin-friendly pitch of Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground in Florida.
In ODIs, both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav will be the first-choice spinners for Kohli and in Tests, Jadeja and R. Ashwin be the preferred choices for the Indian skipper.
One of the concerns on the tour to the Caribbean islands for Kohli will be the death bowling area. Kohli's go-to man Jasprit Bumrah has been rested for the limited-oversleg, which means the team will have to go for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Navdeep Saini in the death overs.
Bhuvneshwar, offlate, has not been able to restrict the batters in the death overs while Saini is yet to play an international game.
Another area of concern for the Men in Blue will be their lack of finishing touch in the slog overs because of Hardik's absence. They will be dependent on Pant Krunal and Jadeja to take the team to match-winning totals, especially in the T20Is and ODIs. Also, the absence of M.S. Dhoni will require one of the three top-order batsman to take up the job of a finisher.
The T20I series will provide a good opportunity to many young players like Saini, Sundar, Krunal, Khaleel and Deepak to showcase their talent at the highest level of cricket and make a strong case for themselves for the tours in future.
For leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, who performed in the first-class and List A matches, it will be a great opportunity to take his India ‘A' form and impress Kohli.
One of the biggest threats for the Indian team is that West Indies is full of power hitters. Windies despite being in poor form after their T20 World Cup 2016 triumph, cannot be taken lightly, especially in the limited-overs leg of the tour.
The hosts have the likes of Carlos Brathwaite, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran, who on their day, can blow away any bowling attack.
In T20Is, the only experience bowler in the Indian line-up is Bhuvneshwar who will be joined by Mohammed Shami in the ODIs. In the two Test matches, India will also have the options of Ishant Sharma, Bumrah and Umesh Yadav.
India's squad for 3 T20Is: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini.
India's squad for 3 ODIs: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini.
India's squad for 2 Tests: Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Mayank Agarwal, K.L. Rahul, C Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (WK) Wriddhiman Saha (WK), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.