West Indies v India, only Twenty20, Trinidad June 3, 2011

Tour begins with trouble in paradise


Match facts

Saturday, June 4, Port of Spain
Start time 1000 (1400 GMT)

Big Picture

It's déjà vu all over again. A little less than a year ago, India began their World Twenty20 campaign in the West Indies just five days after the IPL. Visibly underprepared and disrespectful of international cricket, India were doomed to not go far. Not much has changed on the Indian side of affairs in 2011. Barely six days will have passed since the end of yet another IPL when India kick off their full tour of the West Indies, again with a T20 international. And just like the last time, the hosts will be forced to play at an un-T20 hour of 10 am, sadly to make sure the television viewer in India gets his 7.30 pm start. The people of Trinidad - who might want to catch up on some T20 fun on a Saturday afternoon or evening - be damned.

It serves the broadcasters right then, that India will go through this tour without many of the stars that the Indian TV viewer is believed to never get enough of. West Indies, though, should feel slighted. Virender Sehwag knew he needed a shoulder surgery even before the IPL began. He had a choice to make: he chose the IPL over the West Indies tour. Sachin Tendulkar knew he needed time off cricket: he chose to miss the West Indies Tests but not the IPL.

How the world has changed: there was once a time when players might have wanted to miss a West Indies tour out of fear of their fast bowlers. Now West Indies will feel the duo wouldn't have made similar choices if Tests in England were pitted against the IPL. West Indies will be fuming. West Indies will be inspired. West Indies will want to teach India a lesson. How off the mark can we be? The WICB - rightly or wrongly, who's to say - is not even picking the best-possible side. Chris Gayle remains more active on Twitter than the cricket field. Jerome Taylor, who just played the IPL, is not considered for selection on fitness grounds. There is trouble in paradise, and we can only sit and watch. At 7.30pm, India Standard Time.

Form guide (most recent first)

West Indies WLLLW

The spotlight

First day, first show for Duncan Fletcher comes with a young inexperienced team. India won't look too different once people start retiring after the Australia tour later this year. Fletcher knew he would have to oversee this transition at some time in his tenure. Starting Saturday the new coach gets a sneak-peak into what future holds for him even as India will be interested in seeing what the new coach holds for them.

The two captains are a fascinating study. Under Suresh Raina's previous watch, India finished third in a tri-series involving Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. He was leading a young team then; this one is not too dissimilar, which means the challenge is just as big.

Darren Sammy, on the other hand, will perhaps never play an international without having to justify his presence. Sometimes he passes in flying colours, as he did in the Test that they won against Pakistan, sometimes he doesn't; at all times he tries gamely, making you wonder what would be if some of the more talented West Indies players played with the same passion and persistence.

Team news

West Indies' squad is almost identical to the one that beat Pakistan in the T20 on April 21. The only change is that Kemar Roach has been rested. He didn't play that game anyway. If they keep the winning combination, left-arm medium-pacer Krishmar Santokie will have to wait for his international debut.

West Indies (probable) 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Andre Fletcher (wk), 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Danza Hyatt, 6 Darren Sammy (capt), 7 Christopher Barnwell, 8 Andre Russell, 9 Ashley Nurse, 10 Devendra Bishoo, 11 Ravi Rampaul

India's squad is so different from their usual ones, they have no previous to start from. The choices begin at the top, with Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel favourites as openers. The middle order should be a bit easier to pick, but it will be interesting to see if they go with two spinners and, if they choose to do so, who that second spinner will be. There could be an aversion to playing two offspinners, which is believed to be one of the reasons why R Ashwin lost out to Piyush Chawla in the World Cup squad. Munaf Patel and Praveen Kumar will be certainties in the pace attack.

India (probable) 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Parthiv Patel (wk), 3 Suresh Raina (capt), 4 Virat Kohli, 5 & 6 two out of S Badrinath, Rohit Sharma and Manoj Tiwary, 7 Yusuf Pathan, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 Munaf Patel, 11 R Ashwin/R Vinay Kumar/Amit Mishra/Ishant Sharma

Pitch and conditions

There was heavy rain in Trinidad on the eve of the match, drenching the outfield and bringing the covers on. Scattered thunderstorms have been forecast for the weekend and the following week. If somehow the moisture induces pace and bounce into the pitches, that will be a blessing in disguise.

Stats and trivia

  • This is the 200th T20 international. The first was played in February 2005. It took ODIs 12 years to reach No. 200. Incidentally, India and West Indies played the 200th ODI too.

  • When India beat West Indies in the 200th ODI, it was a major shock. If they do so in the 200th T20I, it won't be an upset but a minor milestone nonetheless, for India have never beaten West Indies in a T20I, losing at Lord's and Kensington Oval in their two previous clashes.


    "We have to continue to put in the hard work. We are a confident group of young men, and we will go into the series with the belief that we can win."
    Darren Sammy shows how mundane press conferences can sometimes be

    "The West Indies team has been playing good cricket for the past few months, and we are not going to take them lightly."
    Suresh Raina outdoes Sammy's "right areas"

    Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sudhir on June 4, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    WI might just throw up a suprise with many unknown names in their lineup!D'Rohit Sharmas,Shikar Dawans & Manoj Tiwaris will be tested out in unfamiliar surroundings.Indian bowling has experience but would the Indian batsmen provide enough runs on board to defend?Time would stand witness if IPL/Club affiliation affets Indian/country's services.....

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2011, 13:46 GMT

    pretty excited about the match!

  • Johnathon on June 4, 2011, 10:41 GMT

    FINALLY we are getting more series in West Indies.... Tired of pulling all nighters to watch games at 2 AM because they are in the subcontinent/England.... what a mess... WC games start at 2 AM, England Test Matches at 3 AM, only tests in the subcontinent, and games in West Indies are reasonable for us Americans

  • Yughandhar on June 4, 2011, 10:19 GMT

    @fermissu mangalan.... I dont think u followed the series between WI and Pak... The pitches in the caribbean are no more pace friendly... they are slow and low nowadays....

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2011, 8:41 GMT

    There are no fast bowlers in this team India (Except Ishanth), Munaf, Praveen and Vinay are well below 125km/h range. I wonder how these medium pacers can be survived in the fast bowling support pitches in Windies. May god help team India.

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    @Ravi, the scheduling of the game at 10am is sad because unlike us Indians, the West Indians are more laid back kind of people, who want to enjoy their cricket in afternoons and evenings, rather than early mornings. It's sad because the primary concern of the organizers must be the people in the stadium and not the people in front of the TV sets in India. Imagine having no day-night ODIs in India because that suits Australian public more!

  • Baundule on June 4, 2011, 6:48 GMT

    India has left their best spinner (leggie) in Rahul Sharma at home. If he were given a chance, he could have done well to cement his position in the team. Ashwin has a bright future and will take Bhajji's position in the future; but Piyush Chawla is a proven failure and Amit Mishra is inconsistent.

  • Eshwar on June 4, 2011, 6:46 GMT

    Monga's preview is extremely biased. It is not an opinion column, so have your likes/dislikes for some other page. This is how the cricket will be in the future and we have to accept it. Nobody is playing for their country, they are just representing their country through private boards mostly. So please do not get carried away with unnecessary patriotism, nationalism and most importantly cynicism.

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    My selection for INDIA IX for T20 against WI : Raina(c), V.Kholi(v.c), M.tiwary, P.patel, S.badrinath, Y.pathan, R.ashwin, P.kumar, M.patel, I.sharma, A.mishra. This is Our best young Indian side. These people can win the match.

  • Dummy4 on June 4, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    who the hell said that many players are retiring aftr aus series..... y can't you ppl leave d senior indian cricketers alone???

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