India vs West Indies, 3rd ODI: India's Hopes Rest on Middle-Order Experiment
India vs West Indies, 3rd ODI: India's Hopes Rest on Middle-Order Experiment

TAROUBA: As India gears up to face the West Indies in the ODI series decider on August 1st, they are pinning their hopes on the successful implementation of an experiment involving Sanju Samson and Surykumar Yadav in the middle-order.

The Indian team, who has maintained a clean record against the West Indies in ODI series since 2006, now faces a rare series defeat after the decision to rest skipper Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli backfired in the second game in Barbados.

Head coach Rahul Dravid emphasized that the team is looking at the bigger picture, with an eye on the upcoming Asia Cup and the subsequent World Cup. The match against West Indies will serve as a crucial test to assess the impact the younger players can make in a must-win scenario.

Dravid explained, "We will always look at the bigger picture. At this stage in the cycle, with the Asia Cup and World Cup approaching, we have to consider the larger perspective due to some of the injuries we are facing. Focusing on every single game and series would be a mistake."

Suryakumar Yadav, who has been struggling to find his rhythm in the 50-over format, will be aiming to play a substantial inning and make a match-winning contribution.

For Sanju Samson, this series decider is a golden opportunity to prove himself. Having experienced several comebacks without making a lasting impact, he is likely to bat at number three, as he did in the second ODI.

While opener Ishan Kishan has been impressive with the bat since the Test series, Shubman Gill is yet to deliver a significant performance after a quiet tour of the West Indies so far.

Hardik Pandya, who opened the bowling in the first two games, is gradually building up his workload. However, his batting form has not been at its best, and he will be eager to score some runs before the five-match T20 series against the West Indies.

In the bowling department, fast bowler Umran Malik, known for his express pace, has a point to prove after remaining wicketless in the series so far. While his raw pace brings an X factor to the Indian team, he needs to work on his skill and accuracy.

Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav has been India's standout bowler, leaving little room for his good friend Yuzvendra Chahal, who is likely to be seen in action only in the following T20 series.

West Indies, with little to lose, will be eager to secure a series win over India, which would provide a much-needed boost after failing to qualify for the ODI World Cup later this year.

Their bowlers have given the Indian batters a tough time. Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie has been effective at turning the ball sharply, and pacer Romario Shepherd has used the short ball to good effect.

Captain Shai Hope expressed his team's determination, saying, "The guys are going to come hard again. We keep speaking about the attitude, and today we displayed that. We need to replicate that and need to be more consistent with the bat and ball."

Squads: West Indies: Shai Hope (captain), Rovman Powell (vice-captain), Alick Athanaze, Yannic Cariah, Keacy Carty, Dominic Drakes, Shimron Hetmyer, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Jayden Seales, Romario Shepherd, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas.

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Surya Kumar Yadav, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Umran Malik, Mukesh Kumar.

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