Virat Kohli India
India captain Virat Kohli needs to take up the bulk of the runmaking responsibility in the series against West Indies. Pictured: Kohli in action during a practice match at a preparatory camp back in India, July 3, 2016IANS

There have been a lot of limited-overs cricket in 2016, and it is finally time for India to don the whites and show they are a force to reckon with, abroad, in the most important format of the sport. Virat Kohli will have high expectations of his team for this four-match Test series in the Caribbean, and while West Indies are no longer the scary side they used to be, it will still be a challenge for this youngish India outfit.

The first Test begins from Thursday, and while there were positives and a few worrying aspects after the two tour matches, India will start this series as the favourites, even if they are the touring side. In Kohli, India have one of the best batsmen in the world – nobody is going to argue too much he is the best limited-overs batsman, it is now up to the India captain to show he is more than just a great in coloured clothing – and with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, they have batsmen made for the longest format of the game.

There will be plenty of pressure on India's limited-overs openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma – to perform, and while bowlers are the ones who always win you matches in Test match cricket, it is the batting that could hold the key.

As the first Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's showed, taking 20 wickets will not guarantee you a victory in a match, you need to bat well as well, and because Alastair Cook and co. could not do that, they succumbed to a defeat on home turf to a Yasir Shah-inspired side.

India need that kind of inspiration from their bowlers, chief of them being R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who showed signs they might dominate this series with decent performances in the practice match, but the onus is on the men with the willow in their hands. Put the runs on the board and let the bowlers do what they did so well in recent Test matches against Sri Lanka and South Africa.

The pitches might not be as conducive to spin as they were back home, but as India showed in the Test series in Sri Lanka, they have the bowlers for all conditions – it is just a matter of giving them confidence by scoring runs. There, Kohli will play a big part – if the captain can lead from the front and scores runs, runs and more runs, India will be a difficult team to beat.

However, that does not mean that India cannot be beaten – they are still very much a work in progress – and while West Indies are not as potent a side in Test match cricket as they are in the other two versions, they do have the ammunition to trouble the visitors.

Much will depend on how the West Indies batsmen play the India spinners, and if they can dominate the slower bowlers in the first Test match, it will dent the confidence of the likes of Ashwin, Jadeja and Amit Mishra, which will then help the home team take control of the series.

Easier said than done, of course, but the key for Jason Holder's men is to nullify away team's bowling threat while having enough faith in their own bowlers to do the trick against this can-still-collapse-easily India batting lineup.

Test series schedule: India vs West Indies.

1st Test: Date: Thursday, July 21 to Monday, July 25.

Time: 10 a.m. local time (7.30 p.m. IST, 3 p.m. BST).

Venue: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

2nd Test: Date: Saturday, July 30 to Wednesday, August 3.

Time: 10 a.m. local time (8.30 p.m. IST, 4 p.m. BST).

Venue: Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

3rd Test: Date: Tuesday, August 9 to Saturday, August 13.

Time: 10 a.m. local time (7.30 p.m. IST, 3 p.m. BST).

Venue: Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, St. Lucia.

4th Test: Date: Thursday, August 18 to Monday, August 22.

Time: 10 a.m. local time (7.30 p.m. IST, 3 p.m. BST).

Venue: Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

TV listings: India: Ten 3 and Ten 1 HD. UK: Sky Sports. Australia: Fox Sports. South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: SuperSport. USA: Willow TV.

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