« Back to articlePrint this article

Will India serve up Kul-Cha in second ODI?

July 28, 2023 13:25 IST

IMAGE: Given how the West Indies succumbed against the wrist spin of Kuldeep Yadav, India could be tempted to bring in leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal for the second ODI. Photograph: BCCI

Following their convincing victory in the first ODI, India will be looking at another ruthless showing in Saturday's second match at the Kensington Oval in Barbados and wrap up the three-match series.

The West Indies boast of some of the most talented players when it comes to T20 cricket, but the same set of players seem to struggle to adjust to the hard grind of 50 overs cricket.

The West Indies, who failed to qualify for this year's ODI World Cup in India, clearly looked out of place in the series opener in Barbados as they crumbled tamely against India's spinners.

Kuldeep Yadav showed why he should be an integral part of India's plans for the World Cup, with sensational figures of 4/6 in three overs, including two maidens.

Despite his late introduction in the 19th over, Kuldeep took no time to rip apart the Windies lower order, picking up four wickets in the space of 18 deliveries -- including three wickets in his last 12 balls without conceding a run.

Ravindra Jadeja also proved a handful on a wicket offering the spinners quite a lot of turn and bounce as he claimed 3/37 as West Indies were bowled out for a lowly 114 in 23 overs -- their second lowest total against India in ODIs.

Hardik Pandya, assigned the new ball, got the early breakthrough but it was pacer Mukesh Kumar, who impressed on his ODI debut, with good figures of 1/22 in five overs, while Shardul Thakur took 1/14 and Umran Malik went wicketless.

Chasing a low total, India did resort to a few experiments as veterans Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were held back to give the young players a chance.

Ishan Kishan made most of the opportunity, slamming a quickfire 52 from 46 balls, but Shubman Gill's poor run in the Caribbean continued as he fell for just seven.

With Rishabh Pant's comeback still a long way away, Kishan is fast emerging as India's No 1 wicketkeeper across formats.

Suryakumar Yadav failed to justify his selection in 50 overs cricket as he perished for 19 after missing the sweep shot against left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie.

SKY was called up to the ODI team despite not scoring a run in his last three ODIs, but he failed to make it count, looking to hit his way out of trouble on a difficult wicket.

The remaining two matches could be the final opportunity for Suryakumar, who averages 23 in 24 ODIs, as far as his World Cup chances are concerned.

It remains to be seen if Sanju Samson and Ruturaj Gaikwad get a chance to play the second game or if India wait to wrap up the series and give them a chance in the third ODI.

Samson, who has played 11 ODIs so far, scoring 330 runs at an average of 66 with a strike rate of 104, could be included as a specialist middle order batter if Kishan continues to don the gloves.

India will feel lucky that their pace bowlers didn't put in a heavy workload in the first match as there is just a day's gap before the second ODI.

Given how the West Indies succumbed against the wrist spin of Kuldeep, India might surely be tempted to bring in leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and revive the famed Kul-Cha partnership, which has rarely featured after the 2019 World Cup.

The duo seem to enjoy bowling alongside each other as confirmed by their records. They have played together in 37 matches, in which Chahal has 60 wickets at an economy rate of 5.24, while Kuldeep has 70 wickets at an economy rate of 5.02.

But surprisingly, the spin twins have featured together in just three games after the 2019 World Cup, in which they have taken 12 wickets combined with India winning all three games -- two games versus Sri Lanka and one against New Zealand.

Chahal also fared well in the previous ODI series in the West Indies last year. The leggie was the joint highest wicket-taker in the series with seven wickets in three games.

However, he has fallen out of favour when it comes to 50-overs cricket in the last few years, having featured in 23 matches out of India's 55 matches since the 2019 World Cup.

He faces stiff competition in the spin department from the left-arm duo of Jadeja and Axar Patel, both of whom have been preferred for their ability to contribute with the bat.

Considering Hardik's recent fitness woes, it will be interesting to see if he plays the second ODI or gets a break to be replaced by left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat.

With two-time world champions West Indies at their lowest ebb in 50 overs cricket, this could be India's best chance to give the reserve players a good run in the middle as they plan ahead for the World Cup.

Who do you think should be part of India's playing XI for the second ODI against the West Indies in Barbados on Saturday?

Please select your team from the list below and do post your playing XI in the message board below: