The sight of Jasprit Bumrah returning to bowl at the nets would have been bittersweet for Indian fans. For starters, it is a delight to see him back in action but it also must have made the heart grow fonder of his fiery bowling through its absence.

And India will definitely have to get their bowling strategies right after the hiding in Chennai when they take on a buoyant West Indies cricket team in the second One-Day International in Vishakhapatnam on Wednesday.

Having lost the previous bilateral ODI series at home against Australia, India would be aiming to keep the three-match series alive against the visitors who have impressed throughout the white-ball tour.

A series win would for Kieron Pollard’s men would certainly raise their profile from being T20 specialists to be considered a force to reckon with in ODIs as well. On the other hand, India would be hoping that their batting might to click into a different gear to overcome the bowling shortcomings exposed by the Windies batting lineup at Chepauk.

India could certainly do with a Rohit Sharma special or another hundred from Virat Kohli at one of his favourite hunting grounds.

Credit where credit is due, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope played fantastic, contrasting innings in Chennai to take the match away from India. It was not exactly a nightmarish bowling performance by any stretch of imagination by India but the lack of ruthlessness and wicket-taking chops when the tide is against them was evident.

Not being able to defend 287 on a slow Chennai track would have certainly left the team management with a few points to ponder.

Changes to playing XI

The ACA-VDCA stadium has produced good batting wickets in the past and that might help Kohli play a fifth specialist bowling option while sacrificing a batsman or an allrounder.

The biggest reason for the setback in Chennai was spinners Ravindra Jadeja (0/58 in 10 overs) and Kuldeep Yadav (0/45 in 10 overs) being rendered ineffective by smart cricket from the Windies top order. Hope and Hetmyer did not just go wham-bham but did enough during the middle overs to ensure 100-plus runs came without undue risks.

India’s lack of firepower meant that debutant Shivam Dube was thrown in the deep end, as he leaked 68 runs in 7.5 overs, indicating that he is certainly a work in progress as far as his bowling is concerned.

However, it’s a tricky path for India to tweak their playing XI considering what exactly they have in their reserves. They have Mayank Agarwal, the reserve opener, who is unlikely to get a chance as Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul are set at the top. Then they have Manish Pandey, the reserve middle-order batsman, who can only be replaced at No 6 in place of Jadhav. And Jadhav did a decent enough job in Chennai, scoring 40 off 33 balls with his effective batting.

Question, however, is whether his position can be taken by a specialist bowler or a batsman instead. On a Chennai track, if he couldn’t be risked for a second over, it remains to be seen he cane be selected just for an occasional roll of the arm.

With Rishabh Pant coming good with the bat and Shreyas Iyer in good form, India can potentially trust the top five to come good and pick Yuzvendra Chahal to add some bite to the attack by sacrificing either one of Jadhav, Jadeja or Dube.

Also read: As Pant and Iyer solved one problem, Hetmyer and Hope exposed another

West Indies in good touch

For the West Indies, Hetmyer has undoubtedly been one of their key performers and getting his wicket will be the key for the Indian team. West Indies’ pacers were also on the money as Sheldon Cotterell and a fit-again Alzarri Joseph did a good job both at the beginning and the back-end of the Indian innings. Keemo Paul also did his bit and the West Indies pace attack could be lauded for using a lot of variations including the slower deliveries to good effect.

But on a true pitch like Visakhapatnam, it will be a different challenge for the pace troika.

Pollard has been on the money for the most part of this tour as the captain and it will be a feather on his cap if he can topple Kohli’s team over to clinch the series with a game to go.


India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shivam Dube, Mohammed Shami, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mayank Agarwal, Shardul Thakur, Manish Pandey.

West Indies: Kieron Pollard (captain), Sunil Ambris, Shai Hope, Khary Pierre, Roston Chase, Alzarri Joseph, Kieron Pollard (Captain), Sheldon Cottrell, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Romario Shepherd, Jason Holder, Keemo Paul, Hayden Walsh Jr.

Match starts at 1.30 pm

(With PTI inputs)