The last time India were in the West Indies, exactly a year ago, the team reached the semi-finals of the World T20 and put up an overall good show.

But the last time India played a One-Day International series in the Caribbean was almost seven years ago in 2012, when India lost the series 1-2. Only four players from that squad are around now – Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur and Ekta Bisht – and each of them will be instrumental for the visitors in the ICC Women’s Championship series.

With only a few series left in the championship to seal spots for the 2021 World Cup, every match counts. A clean sweep will give India 22 points, which will help in qualification. Australia (34) and England (24) lead the table.

India will play three ODIs in the West Indies, starting on Friday, November 1. All the matches will be streamed live on Cricket West Indies’ YouTube channel.

The conditions could be a challenge for the younger lot in the longer format but there is no doubt that India is the stronger team going into the series. Raj and Co are coming off their fifth consecutive ODI series win, blanking South Africa 3-0 in their most recent assignment.

Since reaching the final of the 2017 World Cup, India has won ODI series in South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand as well as two series at home against world champions England. They are ranked second in the world and are joint-third in the ICC Women’s Championship points table with 16 points.

The Indian squad is all but settled with a good mix of youth and experience and the changes tried in the series at home have worked. The combination has got match practice against South Africa and will look for another clean sweep. The pitches in the West Indies are expected to be on the slower side, which will give India’s potent spin attack an added advantage.

West Indies, on the other hand, are struggling badly in the 50-over format. They have lost their last seven ODIs and haven’t won a bilateral series since they won against Sri Lanka in 2017. They sit second to bottom in the table with 11 points.

To make things worse, the hosts are missing the services of destructive all-rounder Deandra Dottin due to injury and Hayley Matthews (in the first two matches) due to disciplinary reasons. However, the seasoned duo of Shemaine Campbelle and Chedean Nation is back along with newcomers Shamnsha Hector and all-rounder Aaliyah Alleyne who have been called up for the series. The experienced Stafanie Taylor will lead the team.

For India, the only concern will be the absence of opener Smriti Mandhana, who injured her foot before the South Africa series. While youngsters Priya Punia and Jemimah Rodrigues stepped up in her absence in the home series, it remains to be seen how the new opening pair fares in the Caribbean. The middle order, with Raj and Harmanpreet, looks stable enough. But the challenge for the batting will be to maintain their good form away from home.

Mandhana, who underwent rehab at the National Cricket Academy, is expected to join the squad later. According to a report by Sportstar, the left-hander is set to travel to the West by Thursday or Friday but there is no official confirmation of the same.

The first of three ODIs will be played on November 1 at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, Centurion. The following two games will also be played at the same venue before the teams move base to Guyana, where they will compete in five Twenty20 Internationals later in the month.