| MARTIN: Set to start new innings
Pune: Humiliated in the first two Tests against India, the West Indies are desperate to get their act together in the three-day match against Ranji Trophy champions Railways starting Thursday.
The visitors have found batting extremely difficult in Mumbai and Chennai and this match offers them an opportunity to set things right so that they can avoid another defeat in the final Test in Calcutta.
With Railways boasting of quality spinners Murali Kartik and Kulamani Parida, Carl Hooper’s men can expect some serious challenge. The spinners will be trying hard to make an impression in order to press for a berth in the one-day series.
Railways have developed into a formidable outfit over the last couple of years, mainly on account of their well-balanced line-up which does not possess extraordinary talent but a number of utility players who are willing to work hard and play as a unit.
Prolific scorers in the previous domestic season like Yere Goud, Raja Ali and J.P. Yadav form a solid line-up which has been further strengthened by the arrival of former Baroda captain Jacob Martin.
However, the star of the Railways is the unassuming Sanjay Bangar who has worked his way into the national team with sheer determination and hard work and is doing a commendable job as Test opener.
Though named in the 17-member squad, it wasn’t confirmed whether Bangar would actually play.
This match will allow the West Indies to try out a few batting options. Apart from Hooper, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, none else have looked good against the spinners.
With wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs out of form, the West Indies tail starts early and they are likely to field Darren Ganga, Darren Powell and Marlon Samuels in this match. All three are yet to play a match on tour.
The inclusion of two spinners — Mahendra Nagamootoo and Gareth Breese — is also an indication that the Caribbeans are toying with the idea of fielding two spinners in Calcutta.
In the pace department, Mervyn Dillon has done well in patches, with spirited support from Pedro Collins and Jermaine Lawson, though they have not been able to seriously threaten the Indian batsmen.
West Indies: Carl Hooper (captain), Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Darren Ganga, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Ryan Hinds, Gareth Breese, Ridley Jacobs, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Mervyn Dillon, Pedro Collins, Cameron Cuffy, Darren Powell, Jermaine Lawson.
Railways: Abhay Sharma (captain), Sanjay Bangar, Murali Kartik, Harvinder Singh, Jacob Martin, J.P. Yadav, Amit Pagnis, Tejinder Pal Singh, Yere Goud, Raja Ali, Kulamani Parida, Zakir Hussain, Shreyas Khanolkar, Santosh Sahu, Mukul Sharma, Sudhir Wankhede, Dhiraj Sharma.