Shreyas Iyer waiting in the wings as India prepare for ODI battle with West Indies

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Shreyas Iyer has been patiently waiting for his chance.

After a lopsided T20 series where India completed a 3-0 clean sweep over the West Indies, the two sides will meet again on Thursday in the first of the three ODI clashes at Guyana.

It will be the first 50-over outing for the two sides since the completion of the 2019 ICC World Cup in England and they will both want to get back to winning ways in the format at Providence.

It will be the visitors who will be undeniably start the three-match ODI series as favourites but the hosts have plenty of firepower.

Gayle’s return boosts hosts

There was hardly anything for the hosts to shout about in the T20I series with the Men in Blue emerging as comprehensive victors. However, the return of veteran opener Chris Gayle to the fold will bolster the hopes of Jason Holder and his men in the three upcoming ODI clashes.

The Jamaican was set to hang up his international boots post the completion of the World Cup but a late change of heart means he will walk out to bat in front of his home fans once again in a Windies shirt.

Gayle did not have the best of times in the World Cup but the southpaw will take confidence from his last ODI series showing in the Caribbean. He was in sensational form when world champions England came calling to the West Indies in February this year and struck two tons and as many half-centuries in four innings against Eoin Morgan and his men.

That form will be what Gayle will hope to bring to the table for the hosts who are desperate for some form of inspiration from somewhere.

The Universe Boss is back for this one.

The Universe Boss is back for this one.

India look to put behind World Cup disappointment

It will be a chance for Virat Kohli and his men to make amends for their failed World Cup campaign where they came unstuck against New Zealand in the semi-final. It had been a near perfect campaign for the Men in Blue otherwise in England but the disappointment of that shock exit will still linger on for some time to come.

Two players who had disappointing World Cup campaigns in England after much was expected of them were wrist-spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. The duo has been India’s go to spinners in the limited-overs formats over the past two years but they will need to affirm their credentials once again with youngsters such as Rahul Chahar and Washington Sundar waiting in the wings.

Kuldeep and Chahal were not picked in the recent T20 series and they have their work cut out for them in the upcoming ODI series if they want to be on the plane for the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia.

A chance for Kuldeep and Chahal to make amends.

A chance for Kuldeep and Chahal to make amends.

Will Shreyas Iyer get a chance?

India ringed in the changes for the recent T20I series with all members of the squad bar one getting a workout across the three matches. The only player to not get a single outing in the whole series was young Shreyas Iyer.

The 24-year-old has a healthy batting average of 42 in six ODI appearances for India previously but has not been given an extended run in the squad despite the woes in the middle-order. With Shikhar Dhawan returning to the ODI fold after his injury, KL Rahul could once again drop down the order to No4 while Rishabh Pant could be deployed a floater batsman.

That leaves one spot in the middle-order up from grabs and it will be a straight shootout between Iyer and Manish Pandey for it. Pandey was the preferred option in the middle-order for Kohli in the T20 series but the 29-year-old failed to really make an impact with 27 runs in three innings.

Iyer is waiting for his chance in the middle-order.

Iyer is waiting for his chance in the middle-order.

LIKELY XIs

West Indies: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder (c), Keemo Paul, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.

India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal/Kuldeep Yadav.

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