Key points to look out for in India’s first ODI against West Indies

At its Ahmedabad training camp, the Indian team deals with a COVID-19 outbreak. According to the BCCI, COVID-19 has been detected in seven members of the Indian squad. Positive test results have been received by Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Navdeep Saini. Mayank Agarwal has been called up to the squad after both openers were diagnosed with COVID-19, and Rahul was ruled out of the opening ODI.

With the exception of Agarwal, the Indian team includes only five hitters from the original group announced for the home series against the West Indies last month. Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, and Deepak Hooda were the only batsmen available for the first ODI when the COVID-19 instances surfaced.

India should start with skipper Rohit Sharma, who has returned to the team following a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the South Africa tour. Given India’s poor performance in prior games without him, Rohit’s performance as a batter and leader will be scrutinised. It’s also unclear whether Rohit appears rusted.

●   A test for Virat Kohli 

Despite two half-centuries in ODIs against South Africa, Virat Kohli’s form remains doubtful. That’s because he’s set the bar so high that even fifty per cent of the time, he’s considered a failure. Kohli may be past his prime as a hitter, but he can still contribute significantly to the club. He does, however, require assistance from other hitters, unlike in the past.

The experiment with wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant at No.4 appears to be continuing. Pant’s performance at the position has been all or nothing, yet he has done enough to keep his job. He played a top-notch knock in the 2nd ODI against South Africa. During the Windies series, though, his consistency will be tested. 

Suryakumar Yadav should get an opportunity in the middle order with KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer out for the first match. Yadav performed admirably in the one chance he was given, but he could not complete the task for the team. Deepak Hooda is also a member of the Indian squad, and he might be used as a sixth bowling option. 

●   Covid hits hard

The positive instances are being handled by the BCCI Medical team, and the members will be kept in isolation until they have fully recovered.

The Indian squad, in particular, has a significant contingent (about 26 people, including net bowlers); therefore, the series does not appear to be in jeopardy.

The West Indies team, which arrived in Ahmedabad early on Wednesday, is staying at the same hotel as India, as are the match officials.

On February 6, the first of three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium. The ODI leg will be followed by three T20Is, all of which will be held in Kolkata’s Eden Gardens. 

ODI squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (Vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan.

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