WI vs IND 2016, 2nd Test – Preview
After its emphatic win by an innings and 92 runs in Antigua, it will be a confident Indian side that will travel to Jamaica to take on the West Indies in the second Test of the four-match series starting on Saturday (July 30).
Anil Kumble, on his first tour as head coach, will be satisfied with the several individual performances of note. Virat Kohli, the captain, made a classy double-hundred with R Ashwin giving him company with a maiden century at No. 6, while there were useful fifties from Shikhar Dhawan and Amit Mishra. As for the bowlers, the pace duo of Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami did well to force the West Indies to follow on, before Ashwin made it a memorable match for himself with his seven-wicket haul in the opponent’s second innings.
The team will be backing itself to make it 2-0 at Kingston, but at the same time, it was not getting ahead of itself. “We have a simple goal, we want to win. That’s the target currently starting from the second Test but the bigger goal is to win the series,” said Cheteshwar Pujara. “Going ahead, we want to be the No. 1 Test team in the world.”
For the West Indies, the target is more immediate. The batsmen were dismissed for 243 in the first innings at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in reply to India’s 566 for 8 declared, and could go no further than 231 in the second. Marlon Samuels, who made 1 and 50 in the Test, admitted that the top order needs to do much better, especially the senior players like himself.
He hoped that playing at home would provide just the kind of inspiration the team needed. “It’s a great opportunity for me. Not too many sportsmen get to play in front of their home crowd. I think I’ve got the opportunity more than one time, so I cherish it, playing in front of a Jamaican crowd,” said Samuels.
“It’s a great opportunity, not only for me, but for the team to make a turnaround and come here and play some positive cricket and put up not just a challenge but a fight … So we all have to step up to the plate, and put up a very good challenge against the Indians.
“The Indians are a very good team, a very good unit, so what we want to try and do, to build right now, is a team spirit, and build a stronger unit [to move forwards]. Yes, we have new players coming in, but they still have to deliver. At the end of the day, you have to do to keep your job here.”
With a pacier pitch promised at Kingston, the West Indies has called up Alzarri Joseph, the uncapped fast bowler, into the squad. Joseph, 19, was one of his team’s stars at the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2016, helping it to the title with 13 wickets to his name.
Joseph could be brought into the XI to provide back-up to Shannon Gabriel, the lead paceman, while Jason Holder, the skipper, and Carlos Brathwaite are the medium pacers in the side.
Samuels was convinced the youngster should be picked. “I would definitely play Alzarri Joseph. He’s fit, fast and fearless. When are you going to play him, at 25? He’s 19 now, it’s the best time to just let him go and enjoy himself and express himself.”
Samuels, the star of the West Indies’ ICC World T20 2016 win, said the team knew what was at stake and could bounce back. “Yes, the team more than have it in them. They have pride, and as I said, it’s a job. If you don’t do your job well, you’re not going to be around here.”