|Suresh Raina and Darren Sammy
Port of Spain: Off to a perfect start by winning the lone twenty20 game of the tour, a second-string India will have to shift gears quickly and now brace up for the ODI battle against the depleted West Indies in a five-match series starting here Monday.
India are without the services of Sachin Tendulkar, regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, who have all been rested, in addition to the ill Yuvraj Singh, and the injured duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.
This will be the world champions first one-day series after clinching the title in April.
Led by Suresh Raina, the Indians have made a confident start to the tour, easing past the hosts by 16 runs in the lone Twenty20 match Saturday.
Raina, who claims to have learnt a lot about captaincy from Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Dhoni, marshalled the young side well and they hardly showed any nerves while outplaying the Caribbeans, desperately missing Chris Gayle.
The man, who set the IPL alight with his lusty hitting, is a pariah in West Indies cricket right now due to his outbursts against the Board, and has been reduced to a mere spectator at least for the first two ODIs.
Gayles absence takes the zing out of West Indies already brittle batting line-up and the Indians couldnt have asked for more.
But facing a depleted West Indies also means the added pressure of not just winning but winning big and Raina is well aware of it.
Theres always pressure and we have done well under pressure. Its for us as players to execute the plans of the coach well. We have to play our natural game, the stand-in captain added.
A look at the two rival line-ups reveal that even without Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gambhir and Dhoni, the Indians have the batting to threaten the rival attack.
During the Twenty20 win, the Indians were at a precarious 56 for four by the ninth over but Subramaniam Badrinath and Rohit Sharma added 71 runs and laid the foundation for the later order batsmen.
India have rather unproven openers in Parthiv Patel and Shikhar Dhawan, who failed to click in T20 game, but it would take more than a Ravi Rampaul or Dwayne Bravo to stop the middle order.
India played two specialist spinners and two seamers in the Twenty20, but didn't pick Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra or Vinay Kumar.
Ishant could get a go in place of either Munaf Patel or Praveen Kumar, while Mishra and Ashwin may swap places as the series goes on. The same is likely for wicketkeepers Parthiv Patel and Wriddhiman Saha.
West Indies have a reasonable batting line-up on paper with Darren Bravo being the pick of the lot but it hasnt quite translated into enough runs .
Kieron Pollard, who wasnt included in the Twenty20 side for not having played in the most recent Caribbean Twenty20 tournament, is back in the side for the first two ODIs and that would bolster their line-up. The bowling, however, would be a big concern for Darren Sammy. The captain himself did well to pick up four wickets but the rest of the attack let him down.
Given these shortcomings, it would be quite a task for the Caribbeans to tame India.
India (likely): Parthiv Patel, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Subramaniam Badrinath, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma/Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel.
West Indies (likely): Lendl Simmons, Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan/Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Carlton Baugh, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Devendra Bishoo.
Match starts: 7.30 pm.