With weather Gods showering benevolence instead of rains as the region is in the midst of north-east monsoon, the least one can say about Sunday’s fifth and concluding ODI game between Indian and the West Indies here at Chepauk is that a full match is very much a possibility.
But the fireworks of the kind that the teams dished out at Indore earlier this week is subject to speculation.
Since the relaying of the square earlier this year, the Chepauk pitch, traditionally known for bounce and a bit of movement, has turned out to be on the slower side. To top it, heavy rains in the past month would not have helped the pitch preparations though the sun has been out the past one week.
Regardless, with the series decided in India’s favour and stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag hammering a record breaking 219 in the previous game, the hosts have the luxury of trying out new faces without being unduly worried about the result.
As for the Darren Sammy-led Windies, it is about playing for pride Sunday. Having lost both the Test and the ODI series, the relative inexperience of the Caribbean outfit needs no reiteration as it has been a key contributory factor to their stunning defeats in both formats.
More so, it remains to be seen whether the visitors have recovered from the whipping they received at the hands of Sehwag who seems to have rediscovered his ODI form with that epic knock in Indore where he eclipsed Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 200 to become only the second batsman to score a double hundred in a 50-over game.
While the outcome of Sunday’s game would be only of academic interest, it would yet provide another chance to the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to get a few more runs under the belts while Suresh Raina, if he plays, gets another opportunity to get a big score that has been long overdue.
In contrast, Sammy’s West Indians have not many options, but would be keen to finish the tour on a winning note. Their lone win thus far in the ODI series reflected the collective potential that somehow has not quite translated into results. Nevertheless, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, one can expect the Windies to come hard at the Indians.
Unlike the Indore game, the Chepauk encounter does not promise tall scores, and both teams might be tempted to pack their bowling with spinners keeping in mind the results of recent games on the sluggish pitch.
India: Virender Sehwag (captain), Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Manoj Tiwary, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Rahul Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Irfan Pathan, Varun Aaron, Abhiumanyu Mithun and Vinay Kumar.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (captain), Darren Bravo, Anthony Martin, Sunil Narine, Kieran Powell, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russel, Lendl Simmons, Adrian Bharath, Danza Hyatt, Jason Mohammed, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper), Kemar Roach and Marlon Samuels.