India will be aiming to put the disappointment of the 2019 World Cup behind and begin the tour of West Indies on a positive note. (Image credit: Getty Images)
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 ended in bitter disappointment with a loss to New Zealand in the semi-final of the tournament. Following the tournament, there were reports and continuing rumours of a rift in the Indian team between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. The rift stories continue to float but the Indian side will now be aiming to put aside their disappointments and prepare for the upcoming series against the West Indies.
Kohli pointed out before leaving for the Caribbean tour, the main objective of the T20s and the subsequent ODI series against the West Indies is to try out the fringe players who are on selectors' mind. Kohli was expected to be rested for the limited-overs leg of the tour but a full-strength squad has been picked barring the absence of star pacer Jasprit Bumrah who will join the side ahead of the Test series beginning August 22. All-rounder Hardik Pandya has been rested for the entire tour.
It will be a crucial couple of weeks for Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey, who is back in the mix after being sidelined from India's 50-over World Cup plans. Pandey last played for India in November 2018 and Iyer on February 2018. With India looking to solidify their brittle middle-order in ODIs, both batsmen have a good opportunity to make their case in the coming six games.
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Both Pandey and Iyer, who were part of the recently-concluded A series in the Caribbean, come into the senior team with runs under their belt. Spin all-rounder Washington Sundar and pacers Khaleel Ahmed and Deepak Chahar are also back in the T20 squad while speedster Navdeep Saini and Deepak's brother Rahul are in line to make their India debut.
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With Rohit Sharma and a fit-again, Shikhar Dhawan set to open, the number four spot seems likely to be occupied by K L Rahul, who has fond memories of the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, having scored an unbeaten 110 in his last innings here almost three years ago. Rohit was top-scorer in the World Cup, with a record five tons, and would be keen to carry that form amid the off-field drama of a speculated rift with Kohli, who has categorically denied any differences with his deputy.
From this tour onwards, Rishabh Pant will have more responsibility on his shoulders with the selectors backing him as the number one wicketkeeper in all formats amid little clarity over the future of MS Dhoni. India will be expected to beat the West Indies though they are most dangerous in the shortest format. The explosive Kieron Pollard and spinner Sunil Narine are back in the side though Chris Gayle will only be seen in the ODIs. Injury-prone Andre Russell has been named in the T20 squad
Who will win?
India have won three consecutive games against the West Indies and they will be determined to continue their winning run in the format. However, West Indies are very strong in the format and they will be determined to continue their winning run.
Weather and pitch
The pitch has always been a belter of a wicket but the weather is not too promising in Florida on Saturday and Sunday. Showers are predicted due to a tropical depression and fans will be lucky to see a truncated game on both days.
1 - India has won only once against the West Indies in Twenty20 Internationals in the Caribbean. Their last win came in 2011
Stadium and timings
The match will be played at Fort Lauderhill in Florida and the match will begin at 8:00 PM IST.