The Indian women’s cricket team’s tour of the West Indies will only be the second bilateral tour that the team will have been to in the Caribbean, and ahead of the first ODI in Antigua, both the teams are raring to go.
The last time India tour West Indies in 2011, the team that was led by Anjum Chopra lost the ODI series 2-1. Four members of that team are still around – Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Harmanpreet Kaur and Ekta Bisht, and while their experience will be invaluable to the team, India would be looking towards their young army of spinners to trouble the West Indies batsmen.
Poonam Yadav and Ekta Bisht were in fine form for India in the recently concluded limited overs series against South Africa, and they would be looking to carry on the good work in the Caribbean. Add Rajeshwari Gayekwad and Deepti Sharma to the mix, and you have a tricky bunch of tweakers to deal with.
India are also stacked as far as the batting department is concerned, barring the absence of Smriti Mandhana who continues her recovery from injury. Statistically, Mithali Raj has never averaged below 35 in an ODI series since facing Australia in 2017-18, and she will be able assisted by the explosive Harmanpreet Kaur, young Jemimah Rodrigues, prodigy Priya Punia and the handy Punam Raut.
West Indies on the other hand have ground to cover, seeking their first bilateral series win since they won against Sri Lanka in the 2017-18 season. For head coach Gus Logie, the immediate challenge would be to register a win and begin to get the team’s confidence back, having now lost their last seven ODIs on the trot.
To make matters worse, Hayley Mathews the all-rounder will miss the first two ODIs of the series as she continues to serve her eight-match ban for disciplinary reasons. The home side would expect big things from Shemaine Campbelle, the all-rounder and occasional wicket-keeper, and Chedean Newton, the middle order batsman.
The inclusion of fast bowler Shamilia Colin in the team is sure to add some firepower to the West Indies bowling attack, while Afy Fletcher will take over leg-spin duties. But with veteran all-rounder Deandra Dottin missing from the team due to a shoulder problem, it is safe to say that India look more like the dominant side on paper. Whether they can show that on the field across the series is a whole different matter.
India: Mithali Raj (c), Harmanpreet Kaur (vice-capt), Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Punam Raut, D Hemalatha, Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Mansi Joshi, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Taniya Bhatia (wk), Priya Punia, Sushma Verma (wk).
West Indies: Stafanie Taylor (c.), Anisa Mohammed, Aaliyah Alleyne, Afy Fletcher, Britney Cooper, Chedean Nation, Chinelle Henry, Stacy-Ann King, Kyshona Knight, Natasha McLean, Shabika Gajnabi, Shawnisha Hector, Shemaine Campbelle, Sheneta Grimmond