Team India wary of rejuvenated West Indies

Published: Thursday, October 26, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Ahmedabad:The West Indies fresh from their win over Australia in Mumbai in their first match of Group 'A' yesterday received a timely and major boost when injured captain and charismatic batsman Brian Lara and experienced southpaw Chanderpaul reported for practice at the Sardar Patel stadium, Motera here ahead of today's clash with hosts India.

West Indies which is on the upswing since last March will be going into this match with confidence knowing they have had the better of India in the last few meetings having won 6 of their last eight matches against Rahul Dravid's men.

The Trinidadian, battling a lower back strain, had not practised since his team's 10-run victory over Australia on Oct 18, in which he did not take the field.

''He is still receiving medical treatment. I don't know how he is feeling. But we think he will be fit for the match,'' West Indies media manager Imran Khan said after his side's practice session at the stadium.

The return of Lara from injury as well as that of Shivnarine Chanderpaul has tilted the scales a bit in favour of West Indies.

The match, which sees both India and West Indies on one win from one match, is of crucial as the winners will virtually book their semi-final berth.

West Indies also have an added advantage as they play England last, which has lost both their past two matches and do not look in any frame of mind to mount a challenge with four of their top players missing, while India if they lose will take on World champions Australia in their last match which would be a must win situation for the Indians.

India even though they won their last match against England with enough to spare, still need to fire in batting as they lost six wickets while chasing a small total of 125.

Virender Sehwag, Mohd. Kaif and Dravid himself has been going through poor form and India would require these players to fire if they want to have a chance against the West Indies bowling attack which has become stronger and more incisive with Jerome Taylor and Ian Bradshaw having the pace and movement.

The Indian bowling department is in safe hands with the good news being the return to form of left arm pacer Irfan Pathan. He will be backed by Munaf Patel and Ajit Agarkar, both of whom can trouble the best of batsmen, along with the spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ramesh Powar.

However, with dew expected to play a part in the evening session, India might be thinking of dropping a spinner, preferably Ramesh Powar and get in Dinesh Mongia who apart from his left arm spinners is a front line batsman. His inclusion could give solidity to the batting which is urgently required with the form of the rest of the batsmen.

The West Indies on the other hand look like after their injury scares in Mumbai, where they had to take help of a local fielder for some time to make up their 11, are back to full strength with apart from Lara, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul also recovering fully from his food poisoning.

The form of Runako Morton has also helped ease matters for the top four West Indian batsmen - Chris Gayle, Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Brian Lara as they know now that the other batsmen have also begun to fire thus easing pressure from their shoulders.

The bowling is also in good hands with Taylor and Bradshaw to open the attack and Corry Collymore also back from West Indies, where he had gone for the birth of his first child.

Apart from them they also have all-rounders in the two Dwaynes - Bravo and Smith with Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels making up the spin options.

All in all a close contest looks like being on the cards with the toss not expected to play that big a part inspite of the dew as in the evening the pitch assists the seam bowlers more with movement in the air and off the seam as was seen on Tuesday's match between Sri Lanka and South Africa.

The Teams:

India: R Dravid (Capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, M Kaif, Suresh Raina, M Dhoni (wk), Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Ramesh Powar, Munaf Patel, R P Singh, and Dinesh Mongia.

West Indies: B Lara (Capt), C Gayle, S Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Bravo, Runako Morton, Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels, W Hinds, Carlton Baugh (wk), Ian Bradshaw, Corry Collymore, Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor.


Write Comments