Unbeaten India wary of West Indies
Dhoni prefers caution despite recent success ahead of their Tri-Nation Series opener against hosts
Exactly one week after clinching the Champions Trophy in a dramatic, rain-affected finale in Birmingham, undisputed world one-day champions India take on a confident West Indies team on Sunday at Sabina Park in the second match of the Tri-Nation Series.
Fresh from a convincing tournament-opening victory over Sri Lanka at the same venue on Friday, home captain Dwayne Bravo is nevertheless mindful that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side are an altogether different proposition given their considerable strengths in all departments of the game.
India trounced the West Indies by eight wickets at the group stage of the Champions Trophy, yet Dhoni has been publicly advising caution over the expectation of continuous success, given the different context and different conditions presented by each succeeding competition.
“What is very important for us is not to look too far ahead,” he said on the eve of this series. “The demands (of the fans) remain the same. The expectation when it comes to the Indian cricket team has always been the same.”
In conditions quite similar to what they are accustomed to at home, the Indians are not expected to tinker too much with a combination that proved so successful in England.
They will obviously be conscious of the ever-present threat of rain at this time of the year in the Caribbean in determining their final eleven, although the inclement weather thankfully stayed away for the West Indies’ six-wicket whipping of Sri Lanka, a result that also brought them a potentially crucial bonus point.
Bravo effectively set the stage for this impending showdown immediately after the win on Friday in urging Jamaican fans to turn up in huge numbers for a clash that offers the prospect of a number of appetising possibilities, not least the continuation of the match-winning form shown by hometown hero Chris Gayle.
His 109 turned a potentially tricky target against the Sri Lankans into a canter. Yet the West Indies are acutely aware that in the likes of Virat Kohli and rising star Shikhar Dhawan, the Indians have the sort of firepower to respond in kind, suggesting that the often overlooked bowlers on both sides may be the ones making the critical inputs in this eagerly anticipated duel.
The number of runs Mahendra Singh Dhoni requires to become third Indian and tenth overall in the world to score 3000 plus runs as skipper.
The batting strike rate of Shikhar Dhawan is the highest among all 32 players who have scored at least a single hundred in this calendar year. In the Champions Trophy, he scored 363 in five matches.