Uzair Rizvi, BeyondHeadlines
The teams shift from colored to white kits. The oldest format of this game. The Test Matches.
Battling with injuries, the World no.1 team -India -takes on West Indies in the first of three Test matches at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Monday. India won or rather say West Indies lost a hard fought ODI series 2-3.The momentum has shifted and lies with the Caribbean’s after winning the last two ODI’s.But Indian ODI team and Test team are two different packages with Test team consisting the old guards.
Team India was already without Sehwag, Gambir, Tendulkar and Yuvraj and will continue to miss their absence. The likes of Mr. Dependable Rahul Dravid, the iconic stylish VVS Laxman and the Captain Cool MS Dhoni have strengthened the amateur batting line-up with their tons of experience.
Opener M.Vijay and Munaf Patel are doubtful for this game as both of them are struggling with on-tour injuries. In absence of Vijay, Parthiv Patel is likely to open the innings with Abhinav Mukund.
With a solid looking middle-order Raina,Badrinath and Kohli will fight for two places with Raina and Kohli being the most likely choice. After a splendid ODI series, Kohli is now poised to earn his Test Cap. He will definitely look to grab this opportunity and make it count.
Man of the Series Rohit Sharma is a surprise omission from the Test Series. He has plenty of first-class experience but still is not looked upon.
Raina struggled in the ODI’s but will still be given a chance to prove himself and also because of the experience in this format ahead of Badrinath.
Injury problem’s seep into India’s bowling armory as well as Zaheer and Sreesanth were not in tour. While one of their replacements A.Mithun has not reached yet owing to visa issues.
It leaves India with two fit bowlers Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma, while Kumar will make his debut and Sharma has just begun to find his rhythm and one cannot ask too much from this lanky fast bowler.
India will be severely handicapped going with two spinners with Harbhajan and Amit Mishra on a pacy Sabina Park wicket.
West Indies, on the other hand could end up fielding four fast bowlers to make the most of the prevailing conditions and carry the late momentum of the ODI series.
The likes of Roach and Rampaul have already troubled the visitors greatly and express fast bowler Fidel Edwards will join them make the things more difficult with Captain Darren Sammy also at the helm.
Devendera Bishoo will be the lone spinner to trouble the Indian’s with his quick-breaks.
While their batting consists of in-form opener L. Simmons, he will open the innings with the returning A. Barath.
Middle order will revolve around Darren Bravo, S arwan , Nash and India’s chief West Indian tormentor (averaging 72 in 18 tests) Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who is making a return after his rift with WICB.
Marlon Samuels is likely to miss the berth. West Indies will still deprived of their star batsmen Chris Gayle, seen in the stands in the last ODI, his talks with the board was inconclusive.
Darren Bravo,who was granted rest after two ODI’s hoped to make a comeback in the tests after the break. But his break has been extended as he was not included in the 1st test squad.
The Jamaican track looks to be a fast-bowlers paradise with pace and bounce and reports suggests that there will be tinge of green grass on the pitch helping the hosts.
Depleted India are still the favorites to win this 5 day contest with plenty of experience but West Indies will fancy their chances and surprising win for the hosts cannot be ruled out.
INDIA- MS Dhoni(Capt.), Parthiv Patel(Wkp), A.Mukund, V.Kohli, R.Dravid, VVS Laxman, S.Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra.