The all-conquering Indian team arrives in the West Indies to play two Tests, three ODIs, and three T20s, with two of the matches at the Queen’s Park Oval. Sheldon Waithe considers whether a recently resurgent Windies can beat the world’s top-ranked Test team
By Sheldon Waithe
Published in Parkite Sports Magazine
Could it be that 11 and 14 August will see the newly crowned world champions playing at the Queen’s Park Oval in the same 50-over Cup format?
The two teams will be going at it in front of eager fans who have had their appetites whetted by the recently concluded six-week World Cup tournament. One of the squads is the epitome of consistency, while the other is a sporadic machine that can blow away any opposition on their day. It’s just that “their day” does not come round nearly enough.
Those QPCC dates will be part of India’s tour of the Caribbean, beginning with T20s from 3 August in Florida and ending in Jamaica with the second of two Test matches on 3 September.
The tour is part of the seemingly relentless schedule that the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) puts its star-studded team through, though it must be noted that its packed calendar is also the reason that India does not release its players to any tournament bar the Indian Premier League.
HEAD TO HEAD: India v. West Indies
|TOTAL PLAYED||INDIA WINS||WI WINS||DRAWN||TIED||NO RESULT|
Bat versus ball
And so to the familiarity of a visiting team that was here in 2016 and 2017. Does the frequent acquaintance provide the Windies with the means to beat India in the Test series, as they so memorably did with the last three visitors – England, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh?
The ubiquitous “on paper” answer is that it will end in a draw. This will very much be a bat (India) versus ball (Windies) battle, and if the Caribbean curators prepare pitches with pace and bounce, then we’re in for a seesawing treat.
However, if placid pitches are the order of the day, expect the Indian batsmen to get stuck in, fill their boots, and then unleash their mastery of spin upon weary West Indian players.
To have any chance of winning the Test series, the West Indies will need to blow away India not only cheaply, but quickly. The tactic worked against England in January, and there’s every reason why, under Jason Holder, it can work for a second time in 2019.
And what of the ODI series? Both teams will be drained from the World Cup, but at least that brings some equivalency on the pitch.
The Indian team may take the opportunity to blood new players in what is the beginning of a new four-year cycle until the next World Cup (in India). It’s unlikely that the Windies will do the same, though an injection of fresh, young talent could be just the tonic required as they head to the tail end of a long season.
Given their proficiency at this level, their ability to grind out a win from the dead periods of a game, India will just get their noses in front in the ODIs.
Regardless, home fans have a mass of cricket to look forward to after the World Cup, with this series leading on to the Caribbean Premier League. Recent results have brought back the fans’ interest, so expect good crowds, the best lime and plenty of noise, as the Windies seek to end India’s dominance in the Caribbean.
West Indies v India
|3 Aug||1st T20I||Florida|
|4 Aug||2nd T20I||Florida|
|6 Aug||3rd T20I||Guyana|
|8 Aug||1st ODI||Guyana|
|11 Aug||2nd ODI||Trinidad|
|14 Aug||3rd ODI||Trinidad|
|22-26 Aug||1st Test||Antigua|
|30 Aug – 3 Sept||2nd Test||Jamaica|