Rohit Sharma & co aim to start in style despite player drought due to COVID

Eager to brush aside the woeful outing in South Africa, India will be taking on Windies in a three-match One-Day International (ODI) series starting Sunday. The opening ODI will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The series would be notable for Rohit Sharma leading the side for the first time in the format as a full-time India skipper. Desperate to get off to a winning start, we present the preview of this match.

Current form
India is coming off a sorry outing in South Africa, suffering a 0-3 whitewash in the three-match ODI series 0-2. On the other hand, Windies is coming off a home ODI series loss to Ireland 1-2. Although momentum could slightly be in Windies’s favour, India has the upper hand given the home advantage.

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Team strength & weaknesses, and players to watch out
India has a robust batting order compared to its bowling. Although the former will be its strength in this series, the latter cannot be taken lightly at any cost, considering the rich talent India possesses across departments. Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal and Mohammed Siraj could grab eyeballs.

For the Windies, it is vice versa. Nevertheless, its batting possesses enough star power to put on a heavy show. At the same time, most of the players are well aware of the Indian conditions, thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL). Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Jason Holder, Nicholas Pooran, Alzari Joseph, Kemar Roach and Hayden Walsh can give the Indians a tough time.

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Injury concerns and head-to-head
None of the sides has any injury concerns. However, India will be missing the services of Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Shreyas Iyer due to COVID. The two sides have played 133 ODIs against each other, with India leading marginally by 64-63, while in India, the host leads marginally again 29-28. In Ahmedabad, of the five clashed between the two, Windies leads 4-1.

Weather and pitch report
The weather in Ahmedabad will be sunny and cold, with an expected temperature between 13-31 degrees. As for the track, it gets slow as the game progresses. However, given the dew factor in mind, bowling first makes sense, although it might not be a bad toss to lose.

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Probable XI
: Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), KL Rahul/Deepak Hooda, Shardul Thakur, Prasidh Krishna/Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj and Washington Sundar.
WI: Shai Hope (wk), Darren Bravo/ Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Shamarh Brooks, Kieron Pollard (c), Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Fabian Allen, Alzarri Joseph, Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith.

Fantasy XI
Rohit, Kohli, Rahul (c), King – Rohit and Rahul will start well as openers, followed by Kohli’s dominance at number three, while King will consolidate in the middle.
Wicketkeepers: Hope, Pant – Both are doing decent with the bat, especially the latter.
All-rounders: Pollard, Holder (vc) – Pollard will be effective with his veteran all-round experience, while Holder has been nailing it with the ball of late.
Bowlers: Chahar, Thakur, Hosein – Chahar and Thakur are sure to impact as pacers, while both can contribute with the bat too, lower down the order. Meanwhile, Hosein will be tricky with his spins.

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Match details
Date and day:
February 6, 2022 (Sunday)
Venue: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad
Time: 1.300 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (also available in HD)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar

Last Updated Feb 6, 2022, 5:00 AM IST

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