Mid-order flaws to work on as WI seeks playoff parity in Florida leg


West Indies are currently trailing 1-2 in the five-game series

West Indies are currently trailing 1-2 in the five-match series © AFP

Over the past week, Cricket West Indies has had to navigate a bit of quicksand. The departure of the second T20I between the Antilles and India was delayed due to the late arrival of the team’s luggage. Prior to the two T20Is to be played in Florida in the United States, the board also had the task of resolving visa issues related to some players on both sides. Eventually, those without visas were flown to Georgetown after Game 3, and the timely intervention of the Guyanese government helped the players obtain their visas.

The West Indies head into the Florida leg of the T20I series with the task of overturning a 1-2 scoring deficit. Despite the hosts lagging behind in the series, there is an air of positivity attached to their T20 side. Both fly-half – Brandon King and Kyle Mayers – found some form, landing a fifty apiece. Obed McCoy’s variations, peppered with his batting skills and left arm angle, confused Indian batters. Meanwhile, Akeal Hosein gave them the required control and wicket-taking option.

The West Indies still have a flaw or two to fill. One of them is the batting unit’s engine room – Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Rovman Powell – were unable to pull off their game. In fact, the trio combined to score just 136 runs between them. Especially against a team like India, who have only lost two of their last 21 T20Is while chasing, the West Indies need their batting unit to collectively fire.

India too would come into Game 4 with their eye on a few issues that rocked their boat in the series. Avesh Khan struggled to adapt to the slower/two-paced nature of ticketing in the Caribbean. Unlike a few other Indian bowlers, Avesh was unable to vary his pace. Shreyas Iyer’s modest scoring streak is another cause for concern. Iyer’s half-hearted hit against McCoy’s short ball in the second T20I was an indicator of a cricketer lacking in confidence. The Indian think tank has trusted Iyer enough so far, however, and he might end up getting a few more chances.

On the brighter side, Arshdeep Singh showed clarity of thought with the ball in different situations to put his hat in the ring for the T20 World Cup selection. His teammate, Suryakumar Yadav, gave another display of his ability to take responsibility for leading the chase with a 76-44 in game three.

When: West Indies vs India, 4th T20I, August 6, 10:30 a.m. local time; 8 p.m. IST

Where: Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground, Lauderhill, Florida

What to expect: The 200 mark has been crossed three times (including two in a single match) in the T20I held on the ground. But it’s a field where teams have struggled to chase in the shortest format, with just two wins for second at bat. So, a score of around 180-185 could be competitive. Humidity should reach 90% and there could be a couple of rain showers during the day.

Team News

West Indies:The hosts might be tempted to enter with an unchanged squad. The only option is to go with Keemo Paul as he has had some success in the field with his brand of knives. If they want to tinker with the batting unit, then Shamarh Brooks could take a look into

Likely eleventh: Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Nicholas Pooran (c), Rovman Powell, Shimon Hetmyer, Devon Thomas (wk), Jason Holder, Dominic Drakes/Keemo Paul, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Obed McCoy

India: Rohit Sharma had to retire injured in the third game due to a back spasm. But he later said during the post-match presentation: “At the moment it’s okay. We have a few days until the next game, hopefully it should be okay.” Avesh’s place could be under scrutiny, but with Harshal Patel downed by a rib problem, he could have another opportunity. The alternate route is to choose another spinner.

Likely eleventh: Rohit Sharma (c), Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Deepak Hooda, Dinesh Karthik, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan/Ravi Bishnoi/Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh

What they said:

“A lot of credit here too goes to him and Rahul Dravid for the way they put the team together and for making sure that a lot of positive mindset comes into play and the players feel safe; they don’t look over their shoulder; make sure they have plenty of chances; they’re also told if they’re not playing, and that’s a commendable thing.” Hardik Pandya after the third T20I.

© Cricbuzz


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