West Indies v India: Rahul Chahar, Nicholas Pooran and other key players to watch in T20 series

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Rahul Chahar (l) is set to make his India debut in the Caribbean.

The West Indies and India are about to shake off their post 2019 World Cup slumber with the two sides set to lock horns in a three-match T20I series which begins in Florida on Sunday.

With the 2020 T20 World Cup just a year away, both sides will be hoping to use the series as a launchpad for their preparations for the tournament in Australia.

As the Windies and India prepare to battle in the United States, we look at the three key players from each side who will be worth keeping an eye on in the three-match series.

WEST INDIES

Nicholas Pooran

It was largely a World Cup campaign to forget for the Windies in England but there were still some big positives to take away for the Caribbean side. The most prominent of them was the performance of young wicketkeeper batsman Nicholas Pooran.

The 23-year-old southpaw struck a fine ton and two half-centuries in the tournament and has been growing in influence at the international level. His aggressive stroke-play makes him a dangerous player in the T20 format and India’s bowlers will be wary of his prowess with the bat.

Pooran is one of the most stylish batsmen on the circuit.

Pooran is one of the most stylish batsmen on the circuit.

Andre Russell

The star Windies all-rounder’s World Cup campaign turned out to be a damp squib in the end despite the hype surrounding his IPL performances for Kolkata Knight Riders.

Russell was good with the ball but failed to show up with the bat before a troublesome knee injury cut short his campaign. He has now been deemed fit to play in the T20 series and the powerful unit will be eager to make amends for his World Cup displays.

If he gets going, India’s bowlers could be in for a torrid time.

Carlos Brathwaite

The all-rounder had announced himself to the world in style with his extraordinary heroics in the 2016 World T20 final against England but all that promise was starting to fade away with unconvincing subsequent displays.

Brathwaite’s international career has now been revived following his sensational ton against New Zealand in the World Cup which nearly dragged the Windies to an improbable victory.

The 31-year-old has been handed the captain’s armband for the upcoming series and he will be determined to show that his World Cup showing was no fluke.

Brathwaite's registered his maiden international ton in the WC.

Brathwaite registered his maiden international ton in the WC.

INDIA

Shikhar Dhawan

It was an unfortunate and premature end to Shikhar Dhawan’s World Cup campaign with the opening batsman’s injury in the second match against Australia ruling him out for the remainder of the tournament.

It was in all probability the last 50-over World Cup campaign for the 33-year-old and he will be determined to now shift his focus to the T20 World Cup in Australia.

The left-hander is a veteran of 50 T20Is and has maintained an impressive strike-rate of more than 130. He will be keen to make the opening slot his own in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup.

India batsman Shikhar Dhawan.

India batsman Shikhar Dhawan.

Rahul Chahar

India have omitted the wrist-spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav from the T20 squad and instead handed a maiden call-up to young leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.

The 19-year-old made his mark in the IPL earlier this year with an excellent debut campaign for eventual champions Mumbai Indians. He claimed 13 wickets in as many matches and did it while maintaining a terrific economy-rate of just six.

Chahar has shown that he has a calm head on young shoulders and he will not be fazed while facing up to the Windies batsmen in his maiden international outing.

Rishabh Pant

This will be a chance for Rishabh Pant to stake his claim as India’s main wicketkeeper in the limited-overs format with MS Dhoni making himself unavailable for the entire tour.

Pant had some promising knocks in the World Cup at No4 but failed to produce a really big display. His prowess in the shorter formats is undeniable and the southpaw has been excellent for some time now for the Delhi Capitals in the IPL.

The explosive wicketkeeper batsman is yet to really justify his talent in the limited-overs formats for India and he will need to start adding some consistency to his game, starting with the tour of the West Indies.

Pant is seen as India's future.

Pant is seen as India’s future.

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Concerns over James Anderson's fitness spoils an excellent start for England in Ashes opener

Press Association Sport 16:56 01/08/2019
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James Anderson bowled just four overs before leaving the field.

Stuart Broad starred as England had Australia 83 for three on the first morning of the 2019 Ashes but an injury scare for fellow seamer James Anderson cast a shadow over the hosts’ bright start at Edgbaston.

The tourists opted to bat in the first Specsavers Test but lost their top three for just 35 as Broad accounted for openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft – both booed to and from the crease following their roles in the sandpaper scandal – while World Cup winner Chris Woakes sent back Usman Khawaja.

A stand of 48 between Steve Smith, the third of Australia’s reunited ball-tampering trio, and Travis Head evened up the scales heading into the break as the rivals jostled for supremacy on day one of a possible 25 this summer.

Anderson’s fitness could yet prove to be a decisive factor, with the 37-year-old restricted to just four overs in the session after feeling tightness in his right calf. The nation’s record wicket-taker was sent for a scan on the problem, leaving England sweating over the most reliable bowler.

Tim Paine’s decision to bat first after winning the toss meant Warner and Bancroft were straight into the lion’s den. Catcalls rang around the ground as they walked to the crease, with the Hollies Stand upping the ante with a chorus of “cheats, cheats, cheats”.

Bancroft began by playing back an Anderson maiden but Warner almost gave his detractors their dream outcome when he nicked his first ball of the day down the leg side.

Broad appealed, as did wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, but neither umpire Aleem Dar or captain Joe Root were persuaded.

That was the start of a colourful but unaccomplished knock from Warner, who was spoken to about batting too far down and survived a loud lbw shout before being given for two when Broad beat him again bowling fast and full from round the wicket.

Dar was quick to raise the finger this time and Warner trudged off to widespread jeers as England fans sang “cheerio” and waved squares of sandpaper. Once again, though, replays told a different story, suggesting the ball would have slipped past the leg stump.

It took Bancroft 25 minutes to get off the mark, with a punched drive down the ground, but it was only a matter of time before Broad had his way. Having successfully pushed the opener deep with a series of yorker-length deliveries he pulled one back and drew a flimsy edge that Joe Root snaffled at slip.

Bancroft crossed with the incoming Smith as he left, inviting the loudest reactions yet, with Broad signalling to the fans to keep up the noise.

The seamer beat Smith’s outside edge three times on nought but Khawaja was next to go for 13, DRS confirming he had feathered Woakes behind.

Smith (23no) began to find his feet and Head (26no) hit four boundaries as Australia restored calm to their innings before the interval.

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England pacer Jofra Archer set for Sussex outings in order to prove fitness for Ashes series

Sport360 staff 16:40 01/08/2019
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England pacer Jofra Archer (r).

England pacer Jofra Archer will be given an opportunity to prove his fitness for the second Ashes Test against Australia in a T20 Blast for Sussex on Friday as well as a Second XI game for the county outfit on Tuesday.

The Barbados-born pacer had been named in the England’s 14-man squad for the first Ashes Test but he failed to make the cut for the playing XI due to concerns over his fitness.

Archer will now participate in Friday’s T20 Blast clash against Kent before taking part in a Second XI Championship game against Gloucestershire starting on Tuesday in order to prove his fitness.

The 24-year-old pacer has had a rousing start to his England career and was instrumental in the side’s maiden World Cup title-winning campaign by chipping in with 20 wickets.

He will now hope to make his Test debut for England in the second Ashes clash at Lord’s which gets underway on July 14.

“Jofra is coming back from quite a serious injury England skipper Joe Root had said on Thursday while explaining the pacer’s omission from the playing XI for the Edgbaston Test.

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“His fitness will be monitored throughout the week. It’s important that he’s ready to go to offer something different.”

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