India vs West Indies 2019: SWOT analysis of India's ODI Squad

Arya Sekhar Chakraborty

India Nets Session

India kept their impeccable record in bilateral T20I series deciders intact as they thrashed West Indies by 67 runs to take the 3 match T20I series 2-1. Riding on the back of sensational batting performances from India’s top 3, the Men in Blue racked up a huge score of 240 runs in their allotted 20 overs in the series decider. The target proved to be way too much in the end as the Windies fell short by 67 runs.

Now with the T20I series done and dusted, the two teams will square off in a 3 match ODI series starting on 15 December at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The Men in Blue have been very consistent in the 50 overs format in the recent past. Although they haven’t managed to win an ICC Trophy since the 2013 Champions Trophy but their bilateral performances have been quite exceptional across all conditions.

Also see - Ranji Trophschedule

The next ICC ODI tournament is quite some time away and India will look to forge a strong pool of players when the host the World Cup in four years time. India has made a solitary change from their T20I squad. While it was Sanju Samson who replaced Shikhar Dhawan in the T20I team, it will be Mayank Agarwal who will take Dhawan’s place in the 50 overs team.

Strengths

The Indian ODI team has been performing quite consistently and will look to put up another comprehensive performance in a bilateral ODI series. The top 3 of the Indian batting line-up oozes class. They are arguably the best top 3 in world cricket including KL Rahul. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have been sensational limited-overs batters and we could witness masterclasses from these two in the series.

India have been heavily reliant on the services of their top 3 and more often than not they have delivered. It has been their biggest strength in the last 4 years. The middle-order lacks firepower. The presence of Ravindra Jadeja lends an ideal balance to the field given his all-round abilities. The bowling department will be led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami.

Shami has been in sensational rhythm in the red-ball format and will look to threaten the Windies batting line-up with his hostility. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is another excellent limited-overs bowler and will look to spearhead the bowling attack along with Shami. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have been game-changers for India in this format but time will tell whether both the wrist spinners will get a game together.

Weaknesses

The main area of concern for the Indian team for a long time has been the conundrum surrounding the middle order. The Men in Blue haven’t managed to forge out a settled middle order which led to their ouster from the 2019 World Cup. Shreyas Iyer has looked in good form in recent times and might be a sensible option for the number 4 spot going forward.

Rishabh Pant hasn’t managed to realise his potential in the white-ball format and that will be on the back of the youngsters mind. The bowling line-up is pretty settled but they will miss the services of Jasprit Bumrah. Without Bumrah's services India lack a quality death bowler who can ping in yorkers whenever required.

Opportunities

It will be a huge opportunity for Rishabh Pant again to show the world why team management has persisted with him for such a long time. On the contrary, the likes of Shivam Dube and Mayank Agarwal will look to settle in this format if they get a chance through the course of the series. Agarwal was brought in as a replacement for the injured Vijay Shankar in the World Cup but didn’t get a game. Dube has impressed in a few T20Is he has played so far and has received his maiden ODI call-up.

It will be an opportunity for the wrist spinning duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal to unleash their variations and show the team management why they are so productive as a pair.

Threats

The only threat which the home team might have to endure against West Indies is their fearless approach. They have some quality power hitters in their batting line-up which can make any bowling attack look clueless on their day. When Windies toured India last year for an ODI series, it was Shimron Hetmyer who tormented the Indian bowling with his audacious strokeplay. Shai Hope also looked in great touch and India faced a good competition from the Caribbean.