Port of Spain: The mood in the India camp is upbeat after sweeping the West Indies in the ODI series. The Shikhar Dhawan-led side showed a lot of maturity to deliver at crunch time, especially in the first two ODIs, and they bagged both the close encounters in the end.
The focus has been shifted from the 50-over game to the shortest format . The men in blue, with full strength, are looking to crush the hosts with the aim of recording another clean sweep in the five-match T20I series getting underway on Friday.
Keeping in mind the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in Australia beginning in October, skipper Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid would like to make a perfect combination to win the ICC trophy after a long lull.
Team India has to play about 16 T20I games before the start of the World Cup (5 vs WI, 5 in the Asia Cup (if India plays the final), 3 vs Australia, 3 vs South Africa) to build a formidable side.
Deepak Hooda seems to be a perfect replacement for Virat Kohli. Kohli has been struggling for the last two years in all formats. It seems his career in T20 cricket is in jeopardy.
India has the luxury of giving a chance to youngsters to prefer some variety in their bowling attack. Young Arshdeep Singh is expected to get a few opportunities. Meanwhile, Avesh Khan, who failed to perform in ODIs against the Indies, would like to erase bad memories and bowl with a new rhythm to cement his place in T20 cricket.
The return of regular captain Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and others would make the task of the Caribbean a difficult one. The hosts need to deliver and keep their nerve at crisis time to win close matches.
The West Indies, the two-time T20 World Cup champions, are a perfect side for this format. The young side has several amazing players who can change the game within a few overs. Nicholas Pooran after losing the ODI series 3-0 is under a lot of pressure as a captain.
At the outset, India is favourite to win today’s match, to be held at Brian Lara Stadium, Trinidad on July 29.