Group President, Group Managing Director & Editor In Chief: Dr.Shelly Ahmed

Thursday, March 05, 2015

ICC World Cup 2015: Will 'West Indies' Team 'Scare' India?

Couldn't defend 304 against Ireland, thrashed Pakistan by 150 runs, posted 372 against Zimbabwe, gave away 405 against South Africa. You simply don't know which West Indian outfit will turn up against India at the WACA in Perth on Friday. 

Will it be the one boasting quality all-rounders capable of putting Jacques Kallis in the shade? Will it be the one solely dependent on Chris Gayle? Or will it be the hopelessly inconsistent one we are accustomed to seeing way too often these days?

In any case, Team India are determined to put their best foot forward. After strutting their stuff against Pakistan and South Africa, and enjoying a stroll in the park by brushing aside the United Arab Emirates, MS Dhoni & Co. are not exactly scratching their heads ahead of Friday's clash.

Such is the confidence among the ranks that they believe any opposition is just another opposition. There isn't an undue focus on a rival player. Gayle is just another cricketer. That's how the team prefers to look at things. That's how they viewed Shahid Afridi and AB de Villiers. And that's why they are on top of Group 'B'.

Lest we forget, Bhuvneshwar Kumar knows a thing or two about keeping Gayle quiet. And even if the big-hitting Jamaican gets a biggie, we have batsmen who are capable of scoring a few more. The Men in Blue are just oozing positivity. Thank Ravi Shastri for that.

Let's talk about the personnel now. According to the team management, every member of the squad is fit for selection. Mohammed Shami, who missed the last game with a knee strain, is expected to bowl at the training session. And if he is indeed picked for the team's fourth Group 'B', then who will be benched? Kumar, who has got Gayle's number on four occasions in seven matches, will consider himself unlucky. But, then, 12 guys can't play.

It will be interesting to see the number of pacers the West Indies field on the fast and bouncy WACA pitch. Will the fast and impressive Kemar Roach join skipper Jason Holder, former skipper Darren Sammy and Jerome Taylor? Or will the team continue to back Andre Russell?

The match will be played in the backdrop of the Caribbean outfit's pullout from their tour of India last year. It will also pit quite a few IPL mates against each other. So don't expect any bad blood. There's enough of that between the Indian team and the media.

There is not much the bowlers or a captain can do when batsmen of the calibre of AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle are on song, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.

"Frankly speaking, you can't do much because if the individual is hitting sixes as you can't have fields for it. More often than not, you'll lose the battle of short-pitched deliveries, if they hit you off the short-pitch stuff also.There's not much you can do," said Dhoni when asked about how he planned to counter Chris Gayle.

"You look to bluff the batsman a bit. I believe that gives liberty to the bowlers to try a few other things if a batsman like Gayle or De Villiers gets going. Apart from that, you don't have a fixed plan as to if you do this, this will happen," said Dhoni.
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