India v West Indies, 1st Test, New Delhi

West Indies look to catch India off guard

The Preview by Sidharth Monga

November 5, 2011

Comments: 70 | Text size: A | A

Rahul Sharma talks to R Ashwin in training, Delhi, November 4, 2011
India are likely to play two debutants, with R Ashwin most likely to get a cap © Associated Press
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Match facts

Sunday, November 6
Start time 9.30 (0400 GMT)

Big Picture

The last time a team other than South Africa beat India in a Test in India, nobody knew of Twitter outside the office of its founders and Facebook was an invitation-only site meant for university and high-school students to share notes. A bit like the growth of those Internet media, it has become increasingly difficult to beat India in India. In the five years and eight months since that defeat to England in Mumbai, India have lost two out of 22 home Tests, the best record among all teams. It will be a shock this season if any addition is made to their two losses, despite coming off four straight defeats in England.

Then again the number of draws over the same period - nine - is equally instructive. These draws say a bit about the flat pitches, a bit about two badly timed declarations which sat on their lead in two series, and the three times the batsmen dug in in the second innings to save Tests. It also says that while it is difficult to beat India in India, it isn't quite improbable to keep them from winning. It shows in how the host broadcaster is not repeating the advertising stunt from last year, when it labeled the series against New Zealand "Mission Domination".

It says that while absolute domination - the whitewashes - hasn't quite been India's style for whatever reasons, it also means India are less likely to leave the door ajar for West Indies. If you are the underdogs, though, having gone close to four years without an away win against an opposition other than Bangladesh, you want a little complacence from the favourites, a little over-confidence or arrogance. You want them to over-aim, something India don't do.

You want to strike when they are not looking, sometimes even one such session can be enough to win a Test. West Indies will look to keep hanging in, keep taking the blows, and hope for India to look away. West Indies have shown they can be stubborn enough through the two draws against the same opposition in the home series earlier this year. The Indian bowling attack this time is comparatively even less experienced. India managed the lone win on a difficult track. Wonder if the Indian curators watched that?

Form guide

(Most recent first)
India LLLLD
West Indies WDDDL

Watch out for…

India's new bowlers. Ishant Sharma will lead the attack, but there are debuts expected. R Ashwin is all but certain to be the second spinner along with Pragyan Ojha, who himself wasn't among the top two spinners as recently the England tour. One out of Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron will get a Test cap too. This will be a huge test for these youngsters, especially with this being an audition for the Australia tour.

It is reassuring that the over-my-dead-body Shivnarine Chanderpaul remains relevant to Test cricket. In the last Test he played against India, he thwarted them for eight hours and 21 minutes to save the game. That was after a particularly turbulent period in his career, a period that made him speak more words in public than he had in his international career. He was hurt, he ranted, he came back and showed he still belonged. On this difficult tour, West Indies will need all his experience and stubbornness.

Pitch and conditions

This is just as big a test for Feroz Shah Kotla. This is only the third first-class match, and the first Test Delhi is hosting after the abandonment of an ODI in 2009-10. The re-laid pitch has been slow, low and lifeless for List A cricket. In one of the two first-class games, it retained its Ranji reputation of early life when Gujarat were bowled out for 71 on the first morning, but neither of the matches produced a result. It is hoped that the new Kotla will break away from the trend, especially considering November mornings are smoggy in Delhi, which could lead to loss of some play.

Team news

Only two slots seem uncertain for India: No. 6 and the second fast bowler. Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane are contenders for the first, and Yadav and Aaron for the latter. Yuvraj is the favourite for the first, both the contenders have laid equal claim to the latter.

India (probable) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Rahul Dravid, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 VVS Laxman, 6 Yuvraj Singh, 7 MS Dhoni (capt. & wk), 8 R Ashwin, 9 Ishant Sharma, 10 Pragyan Ojha, 11 Umesh Yadav/Varun Aaron

The big question for West Indies revolves around Ravi Rampaul, who consistently provided them with early breakthroughs in the home season. He then had to make way for Kemar Roach in Bangladesh. However, they can't afford to play both of them because then he will have to take the place of a specialist batsman, the specialist spinner or the captain. Adrian Barath, fit again, should take his opening slot, which means either Kieran Powell or Kraigg Brathwaite will have to sit out.

West Indies (probable) 1 Adrian Barath, 2 Kieran Powell/Kraigg Brathwaite, 3 Kirk Edwards, 4 Darren Bravo, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Marlon Samuels, 7 Darren Sammy (capt.), 8 Carlton Baugh (wk), 9 Ravi Rampaul/Kemar Roach, 10 Fidel Edwards, 11 Devendra Bishoo

Stats and trivia

  • This is the first time, since November 2000, that India are playing a home Test without both Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh.

  • This will be West Indies' first Test in India in more than nine years, which means only Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels have played previously in India. Both have a century each. Samuels scored 104 in his only Test in India.

  • Sachin Tendulkar, one short of reaching 100 international hundreds, broke the record of most Test centuries at the same venue when he scored his 35th, against Sri Lanka in 2005-06.

Quotes

"Over the last six to 12 months our fast bowlers, Ravi Rampaul, Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach and Darren Sammy have done well and won us matches. We know that India obviously will be heavy on spin but we believe in the quality of our fast bowlers."
Ottis Gibson thinks pace is the way to go

"The Australia series is too far away, so no point thinking about it. As far as this series is concerned, the light may be a factor. It may mean we start a bit late and end a little early. Difficult to predict."
MS Dhoni is taking it one game at a time.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by BULTY on (November 6, 2011, 14:24 GMT)

The series is between two Test playing nations and publicity for this aspect of series is missing; whereas the electronic media, as usual, is bent on highlighting Sachin's 100th 100, Dravid's 13000 runs in Test cricket, Sehwag's 100th six in Test cricket etc. If this is the type of outlook the media wants the players to have, where are the teams going to play to win the game? As the first day's game unfolded in Feroze Kotla stadium in Delhi, today, I would say WI walked away with honours after a cautious start & despite losing two quick wickets. One man by name Chanderpaul is standing in the way of India with his awkward stance to nullify the advantage India may enjoy by playing at home. Where India should have restricted WI to less than 200 & taken more wickets on day 1, they lost advantage by insipid fielding and unimaginative field placing that saw uppish catch-able shots miss the fielders many a time and runs leaking aplenty. Wake up India & give us a better show tomorrow,

Posted by Full-Blooded-Wallop on (November 6, 2011, 5:51 GMT)

@Tram- No he isn't. 99 centuries he made were a fluke.But one thing comes to my mind, do other batsmen don't play on their pitches? ;) Then why couldn't they score that many?

Posted by   on (November 6, 2011, 3:53 GMT)

This is perhaps the stupidest selection by India, putting in Aaron, a bowler who is undoubtedly talented yet only 22 and averaging in excess of 40 in first class cricket. Where is Praveen Kumar, he was perhaps the only bowler who did not disgrace himself on the England tour. Playing Yadav and Aaron just feels like the old story of putting in fast bowlers who will burn out and lose their pace in a couple of years time (Munaf Patel, Ishant Sharma and RP Singh). We need to learn to manage our resources better. Why would you play Yuvraj, he was proved to be inept in the Test format, play Pujara or Vijay who have some future in Test cricket. Absolutely ridiculous selections.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2011, 3:06 GMT)

Go ahead India : Go ahead and underestimate West Indies. We like it that way. You underestimated the value of playing West Indies and went to England having not given the tour of West Indies serious attenttion and you got pulverized in England----not a game won !! ha ha ha

Posted by TRAM on (November 6, 2011, 2:57 GMT)

It doesn't matter if India wins against WI or not. All we want is Sachin score his 100th 100. Does not matter if he plays for his personal score. Does not matter if he could not score against big fast bowlers like Glen McGrath or Shaun Pollock in their pitches. Once he scores his 100th hundred that will be the proof that he is the greatest batsman ever. (all sarcastic , in case some dont get it).

Posted by mrcool on (November 6, 2011, 2:55 GMT)

Rohit sharma should have been givenchances in test match instead of odi...He has good technique...His transformation should have been like dravid from test to odi..unfortunately selectors did wrong..same for Mukund.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2011, 2:21 GMT)

The inclusion of Sammy and Carlton Baugh in the team is bad for the WI, Ramdin should have been the captain in the first place, so the team should read Barath, Powell or Braithwaithe, Edwards, Bravo, Chanderpaul, Samuels , Ramdin, (Captain and wicketkeeper) Roach Rampaul, Fidel Edwards and Bisho This would be the best WI to face India, with 3 Genuine fast bowlers and a quality spinner and rember Samuels can bowl as well . Sammy and Baugh are both useless in the team and should be dropped immediately , come on selectors do the right thing.

Posted by BravoBravo on (November 6, 2011, 2:04 GMT)

Another boring series is in the offing. Reasons: IND will do everything to whitewash WI by playing defensive, thus gain some respect after getting whitewashed by ENG. But either WI or IND are not capable of whitewashing each other anymore. Previously injured IND batsmen will try to improve their batting average before being on injury list on AUS tour. Like on the recent outing in WI by IND, they just did not take the challenge to make 96 runs in 17 overs in the th innings of 3rd test match of IND vs WI, and went for a pathetic draw. On the otherside today ZIM fought with tooth and nail to achieve a result, they did not cave in and did not settle for the draw. This kind of approach is not the IND strength. So expect a boring and self serving test series. I wish luck to WI and expect that WI will play a positive game which they are known for.

Posted by sandeepknk on (November 6, 2011, 1:57 GMT)

DROP SACHIN AGAINST WI,BECOZ HE DONE ENOUGH FOR HIMSELF,WE DONT WANT 100 OR 200 CENTURY,WE WANT WIN INDIA.SO DROP HIM AND GIVE CHANCE TO KOHLI AT NO 4 SLOT.

Posted by Nish_US on (November 6, 2011, 1:56 GMT)

where is this telecase live in USA - officially? I do not see it in willow?

Cricinfo - A suggestion/request please provide a list of official broadcasters for the series in different countries, at least in places like USA, UK, Australia.

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