After a clean sweep in the ODI’s and the drama and commotion
of the IPL auction, the focus now turns to the shortest format as India take on
the West Indies in three T20s in Kolkata. Following their extremely poor
performances at the 2021 T20 World Cup – where they were both knocked out in
the Super 12s – this is an immensely important series for both sides as they
look to reverse their fortunes in the shorter format ahead of the 2022 T20
World Cup in Australia.
After their poor showing in the UAE, the West Indies are
going through a transition in T20 cricket as they move on from their
established veterans and T20 greats, Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo. Kieron
Pollard’s side started 2022 with a 3-2 T20 series win over England thanks to
some promising performances from their youngsters, and the West Indies will use
these three matches at the venue of their last T20 World Cup triumph to give
more game time to some of their exciting talents such as Odean Smith, Romario
Shepherd and Akeal Hosein.
The Men in Blue will also want to improve their T20 form
under new captain Rohit Sharma and look to rebuild their side with his
philosophy ahead of the marquee tournament down under in eight months. Despite
failing to make the semi-finals of the 2021 T20 World Cup, India have won each of
their last six T20 internationals, including a 3-0 clean sweep over T20
finalists New Zealand in November, and remain incredibly tough to beat at home.
However, there will be plenty of issues Rohit Sharma and
Rahul Dravid will want to address in this series, including sorting out who
should bat in the middle-order after Virat Kohli and the balance of the side in
terms of the all-rounder roles at number six and seven.
India will be without opener KL Rahul in this series after
the vice-captain suffered an upper hamstring strain while fielding in the
second ODI last week, and left-hander Ishan Kishan is likely to take his place
alongside Rohit Sharma at the top of the order. All-rounders Axar Patel and
Washington Sundar will also miss out on this series due to injuries, and Deepak
Hooda has been brought into the 18-man squad as cover.
The West Indies will be waiting on the fitness of their
captain Kieron Pollard, who sat out the final two ODIs in Ahmedabad due to
injury. Pollard’s leadership and six-hitting are incredibly important to this
West Indian side, and if the 34-year-old isn’t fit, the visitors could replace
him with Darren Bravo or all-rounder Roston Chase.