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The Hindu
The Hindu

Suryakumar seeks course correction in ODIs; Kishan and Samson to battle for wicketkeeper's slot

Suryakumar Yadav will be aiming to improve his 50-over credentials while Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson are likely to audition for the wicketkeeper's slot when India play a three-match ODI series against the West Indies, beginning here on Thursday.

India will use the series against the West Indies to test out a few players to finalise their combinations ahead of the Asia Cup, which will precede the ODI World Cup at home in October-November.

Like the two Tests, India will be expected to dominate the West Indies but the series presents a crucial opportunity for the likes of Suryakumar, Kishan, Samson, Yuzvendra Chahal and Umran Malik.

Suryakumar, who has not been able to replicate his superhuman T20 form in the ODIs, can stake a claim for the number four spot in the absence of injured Shreyas Iyer.

Though he recorded a hat-trick of first ball ducks in the previous series against Australia, the X-factor batter is expected to start the series.

K L Rahul, who is undergoing rehabilitation after a thigh surgery, will be a strong contender for the number one wicket-keeper's slot when he returns to action. In his absence, both Kishan and Samson have a chance to make a claim for the second wicketkeeper's slot with Risabh Pant unlikely to be fit in time for the World Cup. Samson is used to being in and out of the team but he will be hoping to get game time in his comeback series and build on his average of 66 in 11 ODIs.

Kishan, who impressed with the bat and was behind the stumps in the Test series, is likely to be the wicketkeeper for the opening ODI. That leaves Samson and Suryakumar to battle for the remaining spot in the middle order.

Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill will open the innings which means more time on the bench for Ruturaj Gaikwad. Vice-captain Hardik Pandya, who has not played since the IPL, has a hectic schedule ahead of him with the five T20Is following the ODIs, bringing workload management to the forefront. Considering that he will captain the T20I side, he might get a breather during the ODI series. In the bowling department, it is another opportunity for tearaway pacer Umran Malik to make an impact. The 23-year-old from Jammu and Kashmir has the tendency to leak runs but is a genuine wicket-taking option. He has taken 13 wickets in seven ODIs.

Chahal has gone down in the pecking order of spinners and Kuldeep Yadav was picked ahead of him in the last series against Australia. The leggie will be eagerly waiting for his chance. Mohammed Siraj will lead the pace attack with Jaydev Unadkat, Mukesh Kumar and all-rounder Shardul Thakur being the other options.

The West Indies, who have failed to qualify for the ODI World Cup, will be eyeing a fresh start with the India series.

The return of Shimron Hetmyer and Oshane Thomas will boost the home side. Both played their last ODI in 2021.

Alick Athanaze, who was among the few West Indies batters who showed promised in the Test series, will be the one to watch out for.

The Teams

West Indies: Shai Hope (captain), Rovman Powell (vice-captain), Alick Athanaze, Yannic Cariah, Keacy Carty, Dominic Drakes, Shimron Hetmyer, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Jayden Seales, Romario Shepherd, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas.

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik, Mukesh Kumar.

Match starts at 7 PM IST.

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