Focus shifts back on Rishabh Pant as India look to seal ODI series against West Indies

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Pant's rash shot-making is under the scanner.

It has been a completely one-sided affair ever since India landed in the West Indies for a full tour and the Men in Blue have been in irresistible form in the Caribbean in their five matches so far.

After comprehensively dominating the T20 clashes which they swept by 3-0, India will be looking to add the ODI series as well to their kitty when they take the field against the West Indies in the third and final match in Trinidad on Wednesday.

It was at the same venue where India emerged victorious in the second ODI to take an unassailable 1-0 lead in the three-match series after the first match at Guyana was washed out.

Potential Gayle swansong

With Chris Gayle not being picked for the Test series to come against India, Wednesday’s clash could potentially be his international swansong. The 39-year-old was originally due to retire after the completion of the 2019 World Cup but expressed his desire to return for one more series against India.

The veteran has been granted his wish and he seized his chance to full effect by overtaking Brian Lara in the second ODI to become the highest run-scorer for West Indies in the format.

It was also the 300th ODI appearance for the Jamaican who is now the most-capped player in Windies history, and he will be hoping to go out with a bang in Trinidad if it is indeed to be the final curtain call for his international career.

The explosive southpaw hasn’t exactly set the series on fire so far with just 15 runs in two innings and the hosts will hope he can produce one of his trademark big-hitting spectacles on Wednesday.

Gayle could be playing his final ODI on Wednesday.

Gayle could be playing his final ODI on Wednesday.

Inconsistencies costing Windies dear

It has been a sorry state of affairs for the hosts in the limited-overs clashes against India with the players being plagued by inconsistency. It is a young squad at the disposal of Jason Holder, bar a few exceptions like Gayle, and the lack of experience has reflected in their play.

Only Evin Lewis, and to an extent Nicholas Pooran, showed any resistance with the bat in the second ODI and the story was very much the same in the preceding T20 series. While Pooran has failed to convert any of his several starts in the T20s and ODIs, Shimron Hetmyer’s contributions have been virtually non-existent in both series.

With Gayle also misfiring in the two ODIs, it is clear to see why the hosts have struggled.

The Caribbean side have now not won an ODI series since all the way back in 2014 and they will be desperate to avoid another loss.

Hetmyer hasn't fired at all in the T20 and ODI clashes.

Hetmyer hasn’t fired at all in the T20 and ODI clashes.

Iyer answers call but question mark remains on Pant

With India’s selectors ringing the changes after the World Cup semi-final exit, the tour was a chance for several players on the fringes to stake their claim for a permanent place in the squad.

The biggest question mark was over the middle-order spots and one-half of that seems to have been answered with Shreyas Iyer’s encouraging display in the second ODI. The right-hander struck a fine 68-ball 71 in what was his first opportunity on the tour and looks to have bought himself some more time in the team.

The displays of Rishabh Pant, on the other hand, have been less than encouraging with the wicketkeeper/batsman’s limited-overs woes continuing. Bar one unbeaten knock of 65 in the third T20, the left-hander has misfired on most occasions with his decision-making in particular being suspect.

The youngster has been given umpteen chances now in the ODI format and he will have to start applying himself better before the selectors are forced to turn to someone else to fill MS Dhoni’s boots.

LIKELY XIs

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

India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed

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