After thrashing West Indies in the 3-match T20I series, the Men in Blue now have to adjust to the longer format to defeat the Caribbean side in an ODI series of the same length. While the Indian side may adjust easily, the biggest problem with West Indies team over the years has been their inability to change their game to suit the longer game.
West Indian fans were optimistic about their team's chances in the World Cup after seeing them perform well against world's top side England at home. But their optimism came to naught as the Windies once again flattered to deceive in the big event.
So, what can we expect from the home team in these three games? Also, how will the Indians approach this contest, considering they now have to build the team for the next World Cup? These are two big questions that make this series important.
While we are not blessed with a view of the future, there are certainly some things that can be identified as the main factors that will decide who comes out on top. Here are those 4 most important factors, analysed in brief.
Turning talent into performances
The biggest problem of West Indies cricket has been the inability of talented players to live up to their abilities. The current Windies team also includes plenty of batsmen whose talent is yet to be fully utilized. Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran and Evin Lewis are the big examples. This series gives them an opportunity to start afresh and justify the fanfare that surrounds them. With Jasprit Bumrah not in the Indian team, they will have less of a challenge on their hands. Once again, whether they live up to the expectations or not will be key to Windies' fortunes.
Lack of a good spinner
The theory about Indian batsmen being better players of spin bowling has been demolished plenty of times in recent years. Any good spinner, if he bowls well, has as much chance against the Indians of picking up wickets as any other team. But West Indies don't have any proper frontline spinners in their squad. Fabian Allen bowled well against India in the World Cup and was unlucky to not get MS Dhoni out stumped. But he can't be expected to run through the Indian line-up, neither would be Roston Chase. The composition of the squad suggests that the pitches will be greener. But still, a good tweaker might have been useful.
India's top-three is back to looking at its best but what about the middle-order? KL Rahul might be put back to his no. 4 position but will he succeed there? Then there is Rishabh Pant. His dazzling knock in the final T20I shouldn't get us carried away. We are yet to see that sort of a performance in the 50-over format. So, he still has a point to prove. Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav will be watched closely. Since this is a small series, India may easily win it without needing the contributions of the middle order. But if they do, in any of the matches, these batsmen have to live up to the expectations.
Will Jadeja fire again?
The performance of Ravindra Jadeja in the World Cup semi-final turned him into a hero. But amongst all the trolling of Sanjay Manjrekar, it shouldn't be forgotten that this innings was a flash in the pan. Prior to it, Jaddu has been great with the ball but not so with the bat. So, if he wants to prove himself a proper all-rounder, he has to fire again, not remain satisfied with just one good innings.