Cuttack: India’s previous home one-dayer took place in front of a sparse crowd at the Eden Gardens, reinforcing fears over the quantity of cricket being played, but with Tuesday’s match taking place at the smaller cricketing centre of Cuttack, a jam-packed stadium is expected, reports cricinfo.com. Even though the the biggest crowd-pullers like Dhoni and Tendulkar are missing, tickets sales at the Barabati Stadium have been brisk, and even the practice sessions drew plenty of spectators.
A full-strength India would be expected to roll over West Indies at home, but they are missing at least four of their headliners. In addition, they have lost the most experienced bowler in their squad, Praveen Kumar — he was ruled out of the first three one-dayers with an injury. That means the most seasoned of the quicks is Vinay Kumar, all of 11 one-dayers old, giving the stand-in captain Sehwag something of a challenge.
India are also missing two of their finishers, MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, giving the likes of Rohit Sharma an audition for a permanent place in the hugely competitive middle order.
Despite India facing these hurdles, Darren Sammy has no illusions of the task ahead of his team, calling the series a “very, very tough challenge”. Australia are the only team to have won a one-day series in India since April 2005. West Indies are boosted by the arrival of Kieron Pollard, an impact player who can quickly transform matches, and Lendl Simmons, their most consistent one-day batsman of the year. Sunil Narine, the Trinidad & Tobago offspinner whose variations mystified batsmen in the Champions League T20, could also pose problems.