Depleted Windies search for first ODI series win since 2014 and other talking points

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West Indies are searching for a first ODI series win since 2014.

After a two-match Test series which was one-way traffic for the most part, India and the West Indies will turn their attention to the five-match ODI series which gets underway on Sunday.

The Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati will be the setting for the first match of the series between the two sides in what will be the first ODI held on Indian soil since December, 2017.

Wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant is almost certain to make his ODI debut after some scintillating performances in Tests in England and at home against the Windies.

As the two sides get ready to battle it out at Guwahati, we take a look at the talking points.

INDIA LOOK TO SOLVE MIDDLE ORDER CONUNDRUM

The middle-order conundrum is one question which has vexed the Indian limited-overs outfit for some time now. With the 2019 World Cup just over seven months away, Virat Kohli and his men need to find a settled combination soon.

In his pre-match briefing, Kohli mentioned that the team has ‘more or less’ a settled combination now with Ambati Rayudu set to get an extended run batting in the No4 spot. Rayudu was impressive in the recent Asia Cup and if he can find some consistency batting in that position, it could solve a lot of problems.

Explosive wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant hinted towards making his ODI debut on Sunday through his Instagram account. Called up the squad as a specialist batsman, Pant will probably bat below Rayudu and ahead of MS Dhoni as the Indian team announced their playing XII for the match. India lack power hitters in the death and the 21-year-old could take care of that problem if he continues the form he showed in the Test series.

Pant scored a fine century in a losing cause in the fifth and final Oval Test in England before notching up two 90s in the West Indies Test series.

Rayudu has been backed by Kohli to cement the No4 batting spot.

Rayudu has been backed by Kohli to cement the No4 batting spot.

JADEJA SET FOR ALL-ROUNDER’S SLOT

If Hardik Pandya’s back injury has been a boon for any player, it has been spinning all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. The 29-year-old’s limited-overs international career seemed to be all but over with the emergence of wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.

However, Pandya’s injury sustained in the Asia Cup opened the doors for Jadeja’s return as an all-rounder and it is one he grabbed with both arms in the UAE.

The left-arm spinner has been in resurgent form with both bat and ball and showed his batting prowess in the Test series where he notched up his maiden ton. If he can continue his fine form in the upcoming series, there is every possibility that Jadeja could find himself on the plane to England next year.

Jadeja's limited-overs resurgence is set to continue.

Jadeja’s limited-overs resurgence is set to continue.

DEPLETED WINDIES SEARCH FOR FIRST SERIES WIN SINCE 2014

One would think that with all the outrageous T20 talent in their ranks that the Windies would be a formidable ODI outfit. That hasn’t been the case though with the Caribbean side yet to register an ODI bilateral series win since 2014 when they blanked Bangladesh 3-0 at home. Now, they come into the series against India having suffered a 1-2 reversal against the same opposition on home soil.

Their task has made harder by the absence of Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell.

Led by talismanic skipper Jason Holder, the visitors will be hoping senior players like Kemar Roach and Marlon Samuels can stand up to the challenge against the formidable hosts. Their recent record in India, however, does not augur well for them with the Windies managing only two wins from their last nine ODIs held in the country.

The visitors will need inspiration from their senior players.

The visitors will need inspiration from their senior players.

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