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    WI vs IND 1st T20I preview: India looks to keep up the momentum as Rohit Sharma returns

    WI vs IND 1st T20I preview: India looks to keep up the momentum as Rohit Sharma returns

    WI vs IND 1st T20I preview: India looks to keep up the momentum as Rohit Sharma returns
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    By Prakhar Sachdeo   IST (Published)


    Both India and the West Indies exited the last year's T20 World Cup at an early stage. But while India picked form since the exit and has been unbeaten in six T20I series, West Indies' form has swung like a pendulum as they have won two and lost two series in that time. In the upcoming series, both teams would be looking to build their squads for this year's T20 World Cup.

    After a 3-0 comprehensive victory over hosts West Indies in the One Day International (ODI) series, team India is now geared up to face the men in maroon in a five-match T20I series beginning later today at Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad.
    The ODI team was led by Shikhar Dhawan in absence of Rohit Sharma, who will now be back at the helm of affairs. Also joining the Indian squad for the T20 leg of the tour are all-rounder Hardik Pandya and wicketkeeper-batsmen Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik.
    The bowling department will see the return of off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi, chinaman Kuldeep Yadav and pacer  Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
    India eyes the upcoming World Cup
    With the T20 World Cup just over two and half months away, the men in blue are looking to finalize the men who would be on board the flight to Australia.
    Ever since exiting the last year's T20 World Cup early, India has picked up form in the shortest form of the game and stitched together six bilateral T20 series beating New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Ireland and England. The team has lost just two matches across the 18 completed matches in that span.
    Over the course of the next five matches, India would look to test Ashwin, Pant, Kuldeep, Bishnoi and Arshdeep.
    Ashwin hasn't been a regular for India in T20Is but his recent all-around game in the IPL while playing for Rajasthan Royals has boosted his return to the national side.
    Pant despite his heroics in Test and ODIs remains vulnerable in T20 cricket. He is increasingly facing stiff competition from Ishan Kishan and Dinesh Karthik as the wicketkeeper batsmen in the Indian squad.
    While Yuzvendra Chahal, who is not in the West Indies at the moment is almost certain of his spot in the World Cup squad, Bishnoi and Kuldeep would be trying to do their best to impress the selectors.  Arshdeep made his debut against England and picked two wickets and has an edge in the selection as provides variety being left-handed.
    So in the series against the West Indies  India would be looking to carry their superb run in T20I while at the same time trying and testing the players to finalize the squad for the World Cup.
    What is West Indies looking forward to?
    Like India, West Indies too was ousted from the last year's World Cup at an early stage but their form since then has swung like a pendulum.
    In December last year, West Indies were thrashed 0-3 by Pakistan. The advent of a new year saw the Calypsos rejuvenate and topple England, the then World no.1, in a highly entertaining five-match series. But the team could not keep up the momentum on the tour to India and were comprehensively beaten 0-3. And just before India's tour of the Caribbean, West Indies beat Bangladesh 2-0.
    West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran is still settling in as the leader of the pack. He was alleviated to the captaincy role after Kieron Pollard announced his retirement from international cricket during the Indian summer.
    Despite the team's on and off show, West Indies players always come with a pedigree and experience in T20 cricket.  Pooran himself along with the likes of Rovman Powell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Obed McCoy, Odeon Smith and Romario Shepherd were part of the IPL franchisee. They all are set to feature against India too. Their familiarity with the Indian players will come handy as West Indies look to stage an upset.
    Form Guide:
    West Indies: W-W-L-L-L
    India: L-W-W-W-W
    Pitch and conditions
    The match between India and West Indies will be the first international game at the venue. However, the stadium has regularly hosted CPL matches. The ground has been moderately high-scoring. But for the first international game expect a freshly laid track.
    There are chances of rain during the course of the game.
    Possible XIs
    West Indies possible XI: Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Nicholas Pooran (c), Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell, Odean Smith, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Romario Shepherd, Obed McCoy and Alzarri Joseph
    India possible XI: Rohit Sharma (c), Rishabh Pant, Deepak Hooda/Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, R Ashwin/Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Arshdeep Singh
    Indian player to watch out for
    Suryakumar Yadav
    Suryakumar Yadav smashed a brilliant hundred in a losing cause against England the last time India played a T20I match. Suryakumar's skills is T20 cricket are well known. Expect him to carry his good form against the West Indies too.
    Shimron Hetmyer
    Shimron Hetmyer is back in the West Indies squad. The left-handed batter had a good outing in the IPL this year with Rajasthan Royals. Expect big sixes from his bat and be the finisher lower down the order.
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