MS Dhoni returns as captain of India, while West Indies begin a new era under Carlos Brathwaite as the two teams look to break new ground with a two-match T20 series in Florida, USA this weekend.
After a four-match Test series, which India won, it is an immediate flick of the switch for the two teams, and a move into T20 mode, with the West Indies probably finding it easier, considering the bulk of their T20 squad members were not a part of the five-day matches.
The likes of Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons and Sunil Narine all return to the team, even if they will not have the captain who guided them to the World T20 title in Darren Sammy. After very little contribution with bat and ball, Sammy has been dropped from the squad, with Brathwaite named the new T20 captain.
Brathwaite has a lot to live up to, but if he goes about his business much like he did when he hit those four sixes in a row against England to win West Indies the WT20 title, the team look to be in good hands. Brathwaite also has a wealth of experience to bank on, in the likes of Gayle and Bravo.
India will also have a different captain in Dhoni, who returns to take over from Virat Kohli, after the latter skippered the team to a 2-0 series win over the West Indies in the Test match series, the first time the Indians have won more than one Test match in a series in the Caribbean.
Dhoni has been recuperating from a long season since leading India to victory over Zimbabwe, and the wicketkeeper-batsman will be glad to get back into the thick of things. The India selectors have left out Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya and Pawan Negi from the squad, which means Dhoni will have very little options in terms of all-rounders.
Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin are the only options available – if you can count them as all-rounders that is considering Jadeja's batting has fallen off a cliff and Ashwin is not that potent a batsman in the shorter formats – and that is a weakness that the West Indies, who are all about the all-rounders, will look to exploit.
However, the positive way to look at it is that Dhoni will be able to bank on specialists to do the job – so if the top and middle order batsmen score the runs and the five bowlers do what is expected of them, this India team will be difficult to beat, even for the powerful West Indies side.
Squads: India: MS Dhoni (C), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Stuart Binny, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (C), Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Andre Fletcher, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Jason Holder, Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree.