India bank on youth in Windies ODI series
World champions India will count on their young stars to deliver when they take on fast-improving West Indies in a one-day series starting in Cuttack on Tuesday.
The hosts have rested batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the five-match series, picking instead young batsmen Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane.
Kohli scored half-centuries in each innings of the drawn third and final Test in Mumbai last week that helped India clinch the series 2-0.
India, with explosive opener Virender Sehwag as stand-in captain, will look to extend their excellent run at the Barabati stadium in Cuttack where they have lost only four of their 14 one-day internationals.
Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar said he was excited by the new-look home team.
“We now move our focus to the young batsmen in the team,” Vengsarkar wrote in the Times of India.
“With Sehwag all set to lead India, the one-dayers should provide for more entertainment, what with the West Indies having gained a lot of positives from the Test series.”
The man in the spotlight will be newcomer Ravichandran Ashwin, who grabbed 22 wickets with his off-spin in his debut Test series and also scored a century in Mumbai.
The West Indies showed much improvement in the last two Tests at Kolkata and Mumbai but skipper Darren Sammy wanted his side to be more consistent in the one-dayers.
The tourists scored 463 in their second innings at Kolkata and 590 in the first innings at Mumbai, with young Darren Bravo smashing centuries in both matches to announce his arrival on the big stage.
“As a team we are making some strides, but we still need more consistency,” said Sammy.
“We did some good things earlier this year against Pakistan and India at home and we beat Bangladesh in Bangladesh last month. We came here and competed in the Tests against India, but did not capitalise on the key moments.”
Hard-hitting all-rounder Kieron Pollard returns to the West Indies squad where batsman Jason Mohammed and off-spinner Sunil Narine are the new faces.
The remaining matches will be played in Visakhapatnam (December 2), Ahmedabad (December 5), Indore (December 8) and Chennai (December 11).—AFP
India: Virender Sehwag (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Parthiv Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Adrian Barath, Darren Bravo, Danza Hyatt, Anthony Martin, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Kieran Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons.