After the heartbreaking exit from the World Cup 2019 in the semi-finals against the Blackcaps, Team India‘s next assignment is a tour of the West Indies. The complete tour, which will commence on August 3, consists of three T-20 Internationals, three ODIs, and two Test matches.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the 15-member squad for T20Is — Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (VC), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini.

The ‘Men in Blue’ will play the first two Twenty-20 matches in the United States of America and the last one in Guyana. India has locked horns with the ‘Men in Maroon’ eleven times in which both the sides have tasted victory in five games each and one match was abandoned due to rain.

The first World T20 champions have a comparatively poor record against West Indies outside their home with only two victories in seven games (one coming in Dhaka). Here’s a SWOT analysis of the visitors ahead of the T20s.

#1 Strengths:-

Shikhar Dhawan.
Shikhar Dhawan.

The strength of the Indian team is, as usual, the batting department. Shikhar Dhawan, who is back after an injury, is expected to return to the opening slot with Rohit Sharma. KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, who are known for their exploits in the shortest format of the game, will be huge assets. The skipper Virat Kohli, who has missed many T20Is of late, will look to get runs under his belt in this format before T20 World Cup in 2020.

The deck used at Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground of USA generally assists the spinners. The spin attack comprising Rahul Chahar, Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, and Washington Sundar is also one of the strengths of India.

The senior Pandya brother has been pretty good in his short international career so far. Rahul Chahar, who was very impressive for Mumbai Indians in Indian Premier League 2019, can cause some serious damage to the current World T20 champions with his deadly variations.

#2 Weaknesses:-

Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

The death bowling might be one cause for concern for Kohli’s army against the West Indies. The ever-reliant Jasprit Bumrah has been rested for white-ball cricket in this tour, which means India will have to go for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Navdeep Saini in the death overs. Bhuvneshwar has struggled in the slog overs of late while Saini is yet to play an international game. The 26-year-old speedster was the find for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2019 but he is still a greenhorn when it comes to international cricket.

Besides bowling in the death overs, India may also lack finishing touch in the slog overs because of Hardik’s absence. They will rely on Rishabh Pant and Krunal Pandya for the finisher’s job as even Mahendra Singh Dhoni is taking a break in this series.

India could also have selected another attacking batsman for the middle-order. An attacking batsman like Nitish Rana or Ishan Kishan would have made the middle-order more suitable to the shortest format of the game.

​#3 Opportunities:-

Navdeep Saini.
Navdeep Saini.

The first T20I series after the World Cup 2019 is a good opportunity for many young players. This bilateral series is expected to very important for the young players because with the T20 World Cup coming up in 2020. The 21-year-old Pant, who has been sensational in the last two seasons of the Indian Premier League, will try to make the most of this opportunity by carrying on his T20 heroics to the I]international stage.

The batting all-rounder Krunal Pandya has been a regular T20 player for India since his debut and will look to make his case even stronger. The leg-spinner Rahul Chahar, after having a good time in IPL 2019 has also performed in the first-class and List A matches. The 19-year-old has got six wickets in just three matches for India-A against West Indies-A.

The young pacers like Navdeep Saini, Khaleel Ahmed and Deepak Chahar will make an effort to impress the team management and the captain Virat Kohli. Saini, who provided important breakthroughs at crucial stages, has eight scalps with one five-fer in the same series. Picking up nine wickets, the left-arm seamer Khaleel topped the wicket charts with his consistent performances.

#4 Threats:-

West Indies were brilliant in patches during the 2019 World Cup.
West Indies were brilliant in patches during the 2019 World Cup.

There are not many threats for the Indian team against West Indies who have been in poor form currently. After their T20 World Cup 2016 triumph, they have managed to win just 11 out of 33 T20I matches. Despite this, the defending T20 champions cannot be taken lightly.

The West Indies side is full of powerful hitters like Chris Gayle (if he plays), Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran. Chris Gayle, though not at the best stage of his career, had a good IPL 2019. The young southpaw Pooran is in good form since WC 2019.

The Indian bowling unit has only one experienced bowler – Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has been poor in the death overs of late. The ‘Men in Maroon’ have a quality batting lineup as mentioned above which can dominate any bowling attack on their day. India should also make sure that they do not lose the tempo in the middle-order which was one of their problems in the 50-over World Cup.

​source – Sportskeeda