| Team India captain Rahul Dravid and son Samit being welcomed by young drummers at the team hotel in Frigate Bay, St Kitts, on Sunday. (AFP)
Basseterre (St Kitts): Tuesday’s India versus West Indies ODI isn’t just a big moment for both in the five-match Digicel series, it means much for this twin island (other being Nevis) nation. And, so, Dr Denzil Douglas’ government has declared a national holiday.
The narrow, winding roads (quite like Shillong’s) leading to the refurbished Warner Park, therefore, will be packed with men and machines. Never before has St Kitts hosted a one-dayer, forget having staged something bigger. In a few weeks, the maiden Test is also to feature the same teams.
The government’s gesture is one way of saluting India and the West Indies, who’re tied 1-1 after the high-voltage action in Kingston. Two ODIs are going to remain after the one here and the team making fewer unforced mistakes should lift the trophy.
The West Indies did well to pull off a one-run win on Saturday, but coach Bennett King accepted it didn’t make them champions. “A stack of things has to be done... We did play some critical moments better, but we haven’t become champions...”
Complimenting Brian Lara for being the “driving force” with his leadership the other day, King said both teams were relying “on a couple of key players” to see them through. The first ODI, which India won on the penultimate ball, had been of “immense education.”
Talking of Lara, he continued: “He showed courage in the way he rotated bowlers... I like working with people who take risks and, as we move forward, he can be very handy for us...” According to the coach, there’s greater need for consistency as “every component” of the game gets highlighted more in ODIs.
King maintained his players hadn’t been lacking in confidence, in recent times, and added: “They’ve lacked the experience of pulling it off from pressure situations.” Counterpart Greg Chappell, by the way, must be hoping his boys get ‘educated’ after going down on the third last ball.
While the West Indies may not change the XI which won on Saturday, The Telegraph learns that the Indians are looking to play Sreesanth. If he does, Munaf Patel has to miss out.
“Sreesanth appears to have recovered from his left heel injury... However, let’s see how he bowls at nets later today (early Tuesday back in India),” a well-placed source informed on Monday morning.
Any let-up in the fierceness with which this series has thus far been contested is unlikely. If anything, it’s only the weather which could put a damper on what promises to be another thriller. In King’s view, tall scores are on the cards.
India: Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Irfan Pathan, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ajit Agarkar, Ramesh Powar, Harbhajan Singh, Sreesanth/Munaf Patel.
West Indies (from): Brian Lara, Chris Gayle, Runako Morton, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Smith, Carlton Baugh (Jr), Corey Colleymore, Fidel Edwards, Jerome Taylor, Ian Bradshaw, Dwayne Bravo, Dave Mohammed.
Umpires: Steve Bucknor, Asad Rauf. TV: Billy Doctrove.
Match Referee: Chris Broad.
Match starts: 7.00 pm (IST).