India remain a formidable unit in ODI cricket; that much was clear after their long, long England tour. West Indies will attempt to put a bit of a spanner in the works as India prepare for their defence of the 2015 World Cup, but on paper, there only looks like one team coming away with a victory in the five-match India vs West Indies ODI series.
The last time West Indies toured India, last year, it was all about Sachin Tendulkar and his farewell series. This time around, it will be about the 2015 World Cup – two teams who will fancy their chances of lifting the trophy, with India, in particular, looking to iron out any remaining chinks.
While India will miss a couple of their key ODI players in the form of Rohit Sharma, still recovering from an injury picked up in the second ODI against England, and R Ashwin, who has been rested for the first three one-day internationals, West Indies will be without their main man in the limited-overs game – Sunil Narine.
Narine was reported for a suspect action twice in the Champions League T20 while playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders, and that resulted in the mystery spinner missing the final against the Chennai Super Kings. CSK romped home to an eight-wicket victory as Suresh Raina and co. made merry with the bat in the West Indian's absence.
The West Indies Cricket Board also decided to call Narine back home after the bowling action issues, leaving skipper Dwayne Bravo without his most dangerous limited-overs bowler.
India will, no doubt, look to take full advantage of Narine's absence, and if their form against England is anything to go by, then West Indies could be in for a long series.
However, West Indies have plenty of individuals capable of turning the game around single-handedly, and if a few of them catch fire in the ODI series against India, then we could be in for a really close contest.
The series begins with a match in Kochi, where, alas, rain is forecast, on Wednesday, with all five of the matches set to be day-nighters.
That should bring that irritating -- from the player's point of view, of course -- dew into play, and it remains to be seen if the captains will make their decisions at the toss based on the effect the dew will have.
While India's batting remains their strength, West Indies will hope their own willow-wielders show a lot more consistency. The top order needs to set a solid base to allow the big-hitters lower down the order more freedom to do what they do best – smash sixes out of the ground.
If the top order batsmen lose their wickets too early, then they will put too much pressure on the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard, and that will suit India perfectly.
"It's very important that our batters put runs on the board," West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin said. "We have to get early wickets and put their middle and lower order under pressure."
India will rely on the their top order, consisting of Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, as well to put most of the runs on the board, with the likes of Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja doing the finishing job.
Both the teams' bowlers have plenty to prove, but on these flat pitches in India, the batsmen will expect to dominate.
India vs West Indies ODI Series Schedule: Wednesday, 8 October: 1st ODI (2.30 pm IST, 10 pm BST, 5 am ET) at Nehru Stadium, Kochi.
Saturday, 11 October: 2nd ODI (2.30 pm IST, 10 pm BST, 5 am ET) at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi.
Tuesday, 14 October: 3rd ODI (2.30 pm IST, 10 pm BST, 5 am ET) at ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam.
Friday, 17 October: 4th ODI (2.30 pm IST, 10 pm BST, 5 am ET) at HPCA Stadium, Dharamsala.
Monday, 20 October: 5th ODI (2.30 pm IST, 10 pm BST, 5 am ET) at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.