The five-match ODI series between India and West Indies is all set to kick-off in Kochi in a couple of days' time. And, while India will undoubtedly go in as favourites being the superior of the two sides, the West Indians cannot be taken lightly. They may never regain their prime in international cricket, but they are still a force in one-dayers, unlike the case in Tests. West Indies have players who can compete with India in both the batting and bowling department. And, if India get overconfident, the Windies definitely have players who can surprise them. Indians must beware of the West Indies danger.
One of the main threats to India will be from the West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo. The all-rounder is among the most versatile players in the world in the ODI format these days. In addition to that, he has plenty of experience of Indian conditions, having been a constant for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL as well as CLT20. In fact, he played a major role in Chennai's CLT20 triumph just days back. Having featured in the Indian domestic T20 leagues constantly, he has played with and against most Indian players. This means he knows the players inside out, and can use the same to his advantage.
In the batting department, West Indies have a number of players who can give India a run for their money. Openers Dwayne Smith and Lendl Simmons are in form, and it will definitely help their cause that even they have featured in the CLT20 with a decent amount of success. Kieron Pollard is another big hitter, who has tasted success in India before. He can turn around his arm as well, giving additional value to his place in the team. Former skipper Darren Sammy may not be considered as dangerous, but on his day, he can be as dynamic as Pollard, and has a lot of experience as well.
Come to think of it, West Indies are actually quite strong in the all-round department. While Pollard and Sammy are batsmen who can primarily turn their arm around, Bravo and Andre Russell are proper all-rounders, who can perform equally well with both bat and ball. This is a strength that makes them a force to reckon with in the shorter formats. Returning to their batting strengths, the series will mark the return of Marlon Samuels. He hasn't been in great form in recent times, and will be under pressure, but the fact that he has tasted success in India before should aid his cause.
In the bowling department, the likes of Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor are capable of troubling India with their pace. And, the manner in which India's batsmen performed against Moeen Ali in England, Suliemann Benn will feel confident of making an impression on the Indian batting. West Indies, however, will definitely miss the services of their talisman Chris Gayle, who is out with injury. Another area where they would struggle to compete with the Indians is their fielding. Above all, it will be their inconsistency that would be on test. West Indies have the talent. Whether they can deliver is what remains to be seen.
--By A Cricket Analyst