Team India will be favourites when they take on West Indies in the four-match Test series in the Caribbean. India are on a roll in Tests, having won a rare series in Sri Lanka and beaten South Africa 3-0 at home. West Indies, although have had success in limited-overs cricket, especially T20Is, they have not been the same force in Test cricket. However, West Indies would not be a cakewalk at home for Team India. Here are some ways how West Indies can make India run for cover in the upcoming Test series.
Employ attacking batting
Team India lost the first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle last year despite having a healthy 192-run first-innings lead. Dinesh Chandimal’s attacking 162 not out in Sri Lanka’s second innings busted India’s momentum and their bowling to lead a spirited fightback. West Indies can cash in on this aspect, as Team India bowling can lose its bite when under pressure. West Indies should play attacking cricket and not allow Indian spinners to dictate terms or else they will have to do all the catching up.
Bowl fast and short to Indian batsmen
Barring a few, most of Team India batsmen are still susceptible to short and fast bowling. Having just finished a long T20 season, Indian batsmen would still be carrying the T20 hangover into the Test series. They could play into West Indies’ hand if they play at balls in the zone of uncertainty and gift away their wicket.
When South Africa toured India last year, they were given turning pitches, which Team India spinners exploited to the hilt. West Indies too should look to cash in on the home advantage and prepare pitches that suit their strength. Also, the crowd will be behind West Indies and the players can use it to their advantage.
Attack Team India’s weakness
India have some visible weakness which West Indies can exploit and make it favourable for them. India’s opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay is not consistent, especially the former who has struggled in Test cricket. Cheteshwar Pujara too has not made too many Test runs after the series winning 145 not out against Sri Lanka at Colombo last year. A few quick wickets at the top of the order could well see India struggling to stay afloat.
Dilemma of number 6 player
Besides, India has a problem with no 6 spot as it is a toss-up between a specialist batsman and an additional bowler/all-rounder. Neither Rohit Sharma nor Stuart Binny has done enough to justify this spot be given to them. West Indies can exploit this which will give them an opening into tail-enders and then an opportunity to wrap up Indian innings quickly.