Tilak Varma
After scoring 39 in the first Twenty20 International, Tilak Varma showed he was ready to play at the highest level.

In the first match, played on a sluggish batting surface in Tarouba, West Indies came out on top by scoring the winning boundary.

When India’s most sought-after IPL players face a quality West Indies side in the second T20 International of the five-match series on Sunday, they will have a reputation to preserve and parity to restore. The first match was played on a slow batting surface in Tarouba, but the West Indies prevailed thanks to some outstanding late-game bowling. Even if this year’s ODI World Cup is more important, Hardik Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav, the team’s captain and vice-captain, will still try to impress with their bats.

They, along with Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, and Sanju Samson, have their sights set on the ODI World Cup, but they wouldn’t mind a few solid knocks to boost their confidence before the Asia Cup.

The Indian batting, with IPL prima donnas earning huge paychecks, flattered to deceive, with the exception of debutant Tilak Varma, who looked ready for international cricket during his knock of 39.

In spite of this, it is crucial that players like captain Hardik, openers Gill and Kishan, and spinner Kuldeep Yadav have enough rest keeping the broader picture in mind, as there will be five Twenty20 matches played in a span of nine days involving three countries (Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, and the United States).

Even if one takes into account that this is not an aged team like the ODI outfit, playing so many T20 games in a row with little rest and a lot of traveling will not do them any good.

The World Cup is being contested in the Americas (West Indies and United States) next year, therefore this T20 series against the West Indies is India’s greatest chance to test out their shortest format choices before it becomes crucial.

Therefore, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give Yashasvi Jaiswal, the breakout star of the previous IPL edition, a shot sometime during the series, if not in the second game.

At a stadium where the West Indies have struggled in T20Is, improving their batting performance in the back 10 would be a primary objective. The West Indies only managed to win five of the eleven games played here due to the inconsistency of the weather.

However, despite a decline in quality across both traditional formats, the West Indies are still a formidable force in Twenty20 cricket thanks to the fact that they generate more excellent ‘Guns for Hire’ than any other nation (Australia being the exception).

The likes of Nicholas Pooran, Kyle Maynard, Shimron Hetmyers, Rovman Powell, and Romario Shepherd are all performing at a high level, at least in this format, making them the most difficult opponent for India right now.

Suryakumar would want nothing more than to have a big one in his preferred format and restore some of the confidence he’s lost due to India’s recent struggles in one-day internationals.

Samson is in the same boat since he has consistently failed to live up to his considerable potential on the global stage. After this series, he’ll be taking a trip to Ireland, so he’ll hopefully have racked up a few more runs before he leaves.

Yuzvendra Chahal, one of the team’s bowlers, has fallen a bit in the ODI pecking order and would like to redeem himself if given a chance in all five games.

In terms of death overs bowling, Arshdeep Singh still needs work, but Mukesh Kumar is benefiting from his consistent performance throughout the tour.

The two tearaway quicks, Avesh Khan and Umran Malik need to be given a chance to become the X-factor on tame tracks at some time.

Teams (from): India: Ishan Kishan (wk), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav (vc), Sanju Samson (wk), Hardik Pandya (c), Axar Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar.

Rovman Powell (c), Kyle Mayers (vc), Johnson Charles, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Obed McCoy, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Oshane Thomas, and Akeem ‘King’ Joseph.

The kickoff time is 8 p.m. IST.

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