West Indies tri-series 2013 June 27, 2013

Not just a Testicide

With little context, this tri-series could be looked upon as another blow to Test cricket, but for the teams, it provides a chance to grow, build and streamline their ODI outfits

Seen from one perspective, this tri-series could be the latest instance of Testicide - the act by which a scheduled Test match or series is aborted (or rescheduled, to an unspecified date) by cash-strapped boards for the big money that a one-day series, preferably involving India, brings in. The WICB and SLC achieved that by scrapping the two Tests they were scheduled under the FTP to play against each other in May; they also managed to convince India to be the third team in a one-day tri-series that starts in Jamaica five days after the Champions Trophy ended in England.

But, as MS Dhoni might have put it in one of his interesting metaphors, if a delivery van has been assigned a particular route, there is little the driver, or anybody else, can achieve by fantasising about how good some other route may have been. And this route has one major attraction: The full-strength squad fielded by each country.

Barring a couple of injuries, and in West Indies' case, the need to cull a couple of players for a smaller home-series squad, all three squads are identical to the ones that participated in the Champions Trophy. These are first-choice squads, not some watered-down versions that may have made up the numbers in numerous forgotten one-day series in the past. The boards are quite serious about this series alright.

What about the teams? Host captain Dwayne Bravo has had a heartbreaking start to his limited-overs leadership, with West Indies exiting the Champions Trophy following a rain-hit tied match against South Africa. As Bravo said after the game, West Indies are trying to grow and build a stronger one-day team. New Zealand and Zimbabwe were the last two visitors to the Caribbean. Compared to them, the challenge posed by India and Sri Lanka will aid West Indies' development as a one-day unit. Admittedly, the hosts have made some strides. Having gone more than four years without winning at home against opposition excluding Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, they drew with Australia in March 2012 and then won 4-1 against New Zealand. What Bravo will also want is to grow into his new leadership role. As of now, he is captain in only one format, and taking on two well-drilled ODI outfits can only make him develop further.

The road ahead is tough for Angelo Mathews. Not only does he have to evolve as a captain and a player, he also has to make sure Sri Lanka's reliance on the seniors goes down progressively as the 2015 World Cup approaches. India have successfully achieved that transition in ODIs, so much so that, the window on seniors such as Virender Sehwag seems to be all but closed. Sri Lanka appear to be nowhere close to achieving that. The absence of the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan in this series is a small opportunity, one which Mathews will hope he and Sri Lanka can use to their benefit.

The last time India won a world title, they had Sachin Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Zaheer Khan in the line-up. In just over two years, the nucleus of the one-day side has changed beyond recognition. Who would have thought an opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma would win the Champions Trophy? The selectors had indicated their focus on the 2015 World Cup by selecting a young side for the Champions Trophy, and have chosen to continue with the same approach for this series. These four or five games, against reasonably tough opposition, aren't bad for a young unit to build its confidence further.

Coming to overall context, this series has none. Of course, it isn't the first one-day series, bilateral or tri-nation, devoid of it. Nor will it be the last. Some might argue that a bilateral Test series between West Indies and Sri Lanka, in the absence of a Test Championship, would not have provided any more context. But at least in that case, the game would have been spared the latest instance of Testicide.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Richard on June 29, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    @Seyed Quaid Mowlana: WOW!!! How dare you to chastise the genisis of International Cricket??!!! Clearly you dont appreciate the strategies and challenges of Test Cricket and are only interested in the excitement of the shorter game OR maybe its because your test team is not good!

  • Ali on June 29, 2013, 0:32 GMT

    Rohit Sharma has still not played a TEST match ?

    Why ? Why ?

    He is good enough to play for England, He is good enough to Make Stve Waugh and Riki Pointings world dominating Auz sides.. He is good enough to make Clive Llyod's Test team ....

    but he still can't play Tests for India ? It is insane ......

  • Dummy4 on June 28, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    I remembering Rohit Sharma won MOS in our last both WI series in WI as well as in India. I strongly think now Rohit is on driver seat. From here he can easily travel strieght to Indian Test team. He passed CT test in UK. I am sure in WI if he show same form he will be selected for SA series. In fact for him there is a place in Indian test side as in our last test Ajinkya Rahane didn't scored in both innings against Aussies. So Rohit must have an eye for that place. Really wondering still a batsman having such huge calliber still not played a single test yet. In England after V Richards I haven't seen any batsman in the world who faced short balls so comfortably against some of worlds top most bowlers. Against Morkel, Roach, Irfan, Kulsekra, Tsotsobe etc Rohit has shown tremendous performances. All the best Rohit. Play well in WI. Just repeat your last WI performance. We all are waiting to watch you playing tests for India.

  • Dish on June 28, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    Completely inconsequential series that absolutely nobody cares about.

  • Ashok on June 28, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    Yes, India made an excellent transition from the old stars to new ones. Dhawan has been knocking at the door for over 2 years before he finally displaced Sehwag & Gambhir. So his arrival at the scene is no surprise- only delayed by 2 years. Rohit Sharma & Jadeja had talent but never living up to it by their flashes of immaturity. They have advanced. In B.Kumar, India found an excellent & steady pace bowler who is ideal replacement for ZAK. Ashwin & Jadeja are 2 excellent spinners.India is still searching for 2 other Pace bowlers who are just as good. Mohit Sharma & Sandeep Sharma are potential choices. Ishant & Yadev are both far too erratic. Unless they work on their length & direction, they are likely to be history. In the middle order batting, Kohli is the only reliable guy. Pujara needs to be brought in as reinforcement. Raina, Kartick & Tiwary can fight it out for the 3rd spot.Dhoni has established himself as the skipper. Karan Sharma for the leg spinners spot in this Young India.

  • Nikhil on June 28, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    india is goin to win this tri nation cup

  • Dummy4 on June 28, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    @kamran sekha: i welcome the death of test cricket, after all, it's yesterdays news.

  • Dummy4 on June 28, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Any cricket that arises at the expense of test cricket doesn't interest me at all. Anyone who encourages such a tournament is contributing towards the death of test cricket.

  • binu on June 28, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    The success of Indian Team is the brilliance if Mahndra Sing Dhoni handling new rules of ICC and the players are playing according to MSDs plan , When other teams are adopting well those rules they will be ompetitve,and MSD got a very good player to handle the situation , Raveendra Jadeja

  • moginraj on June 28, 2013, 4:06 GMT

    not sure how much more context a bilateral test series (esp b/w lower ranked teams) has over a tri-series with strong teams taking part!!!! everything doesnt need to have context in the first place... if 3 pretty strong teams with mostly youngsters are playing, it should be fun to watch... plain and simple!!!!