Another run feast on the cards - The New Indian Express

Another run feast on the cards

Published: 21st November 2013 01:37 AM

Last Updated: 21st November 2013 01:37 AM

India have played 35 One-Day Internationals since Sachin Tendulkar’s last innings in the shorter format in March 2012. And a new order has placed Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men right at the top of the ODI rankings. Yet Thursday, against the West Indies at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium here, will truly mark Team India’s first match in the post Sachin era, immaterial of the format.

Such were the emotions that held up almost an entire nation the previous week, as the legend hung up his boots from all forms of competitive cricket.

While the Men in Blue have been in scintillating form of late, the memories and inspiration provided by Sachin over the years would possibly be an add-on to the youthful and skillful side driven by the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja, apart from Dhoni himself.

 

On the eve of the opening contest of a three-match series, Dhoni, by inaugurating the Sachin Tendulkar Pavilion, dedicated to the fans another symbolic strand of a singular legacy that Tendulkar has left behind.

Determined, however, to keep the focus on the match in hand – as was done while blanking the visitors 2-0 in Tendulkar’s farewell Test series, Dhoni hastened off to join the training session.

Having edged the Australians 3-2 in a high-scoring, rain-marred seven-match series prior to the Windies’ arrival, the Indian batting would again be their fulcrum with the focus on Rohit who has scored hundreds in his last three innings, including the double century in the final match of the Australian series and Test centuries against WI.

With the Kochi wicket historically favouring the batsmen, another run feast is on the cards, even as West Indies are set to play their first game at the venue.

The visitors arrive with a change of guard at the top with allrounder Dwayne Bravo taking over the captaincy from Darren Sammy, as experienced medium pacer Ravi Rampaul, mystery spinner Sunil Narine and gangling pacer Jason Holder add extra pep to the Caribbean side, which looked out of its depth as Tendulkar cornered all attention.

“I think we looked drunk during the test series,” Clive Lloyd is quoted to have said, a statement which Bravo’s side would look to change.

West Indies look for a better show in ODIs | Vinod P Mithun
While the likes of Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels, along with Dwayne, are more than capable of upsetting the hosts’ apple-cart with their explosive batting, it is their bowling that needs to sharpen its teeth to contain the marauding Indians who proved against the Aussies that totals in excess of even 350 were not safe with the Rohit-Dhawan opening pair giving them superb launch-pads to be finished off in near-perfect fashion by the middle order.

India too would want to shore up their bowling, which was woeful against Oz, with Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and R Ashwin having had the better of the big-hitting West Indians in the Tests. While Jadeja returns to the side after missing the Tests due to a shoulder niggle, the visitors will have to pull up their socks to get over the setback of losing limited overs specialist Kieron Pollard to injury.

Kochi ground under covers ahead of the first ODI | PTI
All said and done, the unpredictable weather in Kochi remains a threat to the day and night fixture, but the Kerala Cricket Association is hopeful of getting a game in with the help of Duckworth and Lewis.

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