West Indies are set to tour India for a two-match test, a five-match ODI and a three-match T20 international series from September 29 to November 11. The visiting team will commence their tour with a two-day practice match against Board President's XI from September 29 at Vadodara. The test series will kick off from October 4 till October 16 which will be followed by the one-day international series from October 21 till November 1. The final leg of the tour - the T20 international series - is scheduled to be played from November 4 to November 11.
Read on for team previews, betting odds, betting tips and series predictions for West Indies tour of India 2018....
The Indian selectors have left out batsmen Karun Nair and Shikhar Dhawan from their 15-man test squad. Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal have been added to the squad and one of these two will partner KL Rahul at the opening position. Ajinkya Rahane and Rishabh Pant have been retained from the test squad that toured England recently. India's bowling line-up will be without Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, both of whom have been rested for this series, along with the injured Ishant Sharma and allrounder Hardik Pandya. The spin attack will be led by Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav while Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami form the pace-bowling resources.
Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and KL Rahul are likely to do the bulk of the scoring for India in the test series. Kohli has scored the most test runs for his side among all the batsmen from the current squad and he even topped the runs charts to finish as the best batsman in the recent test series against England. Pujara tends to bat for long and he can be a big thorn in the opposition's flesh if not removed early on.
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah not playing, India's pace bowling will rely mainly on Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, both of whom are vastly experienced. Shami snared 16 wickets in the England test series and his ability to reverse swing the old ball means that he will be a constant threat to the West Indian batsmen. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja will be the ones to watch out for when it comes to spin. Both have done exceptionally well for India in the longest format and they will be equally menacing on these spin-friendly Indian pitches.
India have won ten of their last twelve test series. After winning nine series in a row, they faced a 1-2 defeat in South Africa, then thrashed Afghanistan in a one-off test at home before being outplayed 1-4 in their most recently played series in England. It was a difficult tour of England where the Indian batsmen struggled in conditions that were conducive to seam and swing. At home, however, India have a fabulous test record and they have won each of their last nine home series. The last time India faced a series defeat at home was in 2012 against England. It was a four-match series which the hosts lost 1-2.
West Indies have named a 15-man squad for the two-test series against India. Opening batsman Sunil Ambris, who has recovered from his forearm fracture he had sustained last year in New Zealand, has returned to the team. The selectors have also included left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican in the squad who will serve as the second spin option alongside Devendra Bishoo. West Indies have called up fast bowler Sherman Lewis as a replacement for paceman Alzarri Joseph who has been ruled out of the tour with a back injury.
West Indies are going to depend heavily on the likes of Kraigg Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope and Kieran Powell to deliver the goods with the bat. Brathwaite is the leading run-getter for the Windies in tests from their current squad and he also topped the runs charts in the recent home series against Bangladesh. Hetmyer did well for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the CPL and he will look to extend his T20 form in test cricket.
With the ball, it will be mainly up to Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Jason Holder to take wickets. Gabriel is the most successful test bowler for the Windies from the current squad with 111 wickets in 37 matches and his opening spell with the new ball is going to be very crucial. Holder caused a lot of problems for the Bangladeshi batsmen and the skipper finished as the best bowler in the series with 16 wickets in two games. He along with Roach will be expected by the team to give the Indian batsmen a hard time at the crease.
West Indies have really struggled to perform well of late in the game's longest format. They have two wins, two draws and nine defeats in their last thirteen test series. Away from home, the Windies have been able to win just one and have lost eight of their last nine test series. That solitary win too was secured against minnows Zimbabwe whom they beat 1-0 in a two-match series. In their most recent series, however, West Indies whitewashed Bangladesh 2-0 in a two-test home series in July this year.
Jason Holder (c), Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jahmar Hamilton, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Sherman Lewis, Keemo Paul, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Jomel Warrican
Virat Kohli (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant (wk), Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Prithvi Shaw, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Hanuma Vihari, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav
India and West Indies have played 22 test series against each other in the past. While the former have won 8 of those, the latter have won 12 with the remaining 2 having resulted in draws. India, however, have beaten the West Indies in their last six test series. India's tour of the West Indies in 2016 is the most recent series played between these two countries. The series comprised of four matches and the tourists ended up winning it 2-0. West Indies have not been able to beat India in a test match in India since 1984.
India are the number one ranked test team in the world. They have a tremendous record at home and overseas teams find it very tough to beat them in the longest format in these conditions. India, therefore, are overwhelming favorites amongst the bookmakers to win this test series at extremely short odds of 1.08 on both Betway and Bet365. West Indies have struggled against the top-ranked teams in test cricket and they have not been able to win any of their last six test series versus India. The Windies begin as big underdogs at odds of 26 on Betway and 34 on Bet365. A drawn series currently stands at 8.50 and 8 with the respective bookmakers.
West Indies are ranked eighth on the ICC Test Rankings above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and it will not be easy for them to challenge the world's best test team in their own backyard. While the Windies have lost eight of their last nine test series away from home, India on the other hand have won all of their last nine at home. The visitors have not been able to beat the hosts in their country in this format of the game since 1984 and this definitely won't do their confidence any good. India may be without two of their first-choice fast bowlers in Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah but they still have plenty of steam in their bowling to trouble the Windies. We thus predict India to claim their tenth consecutive test series win on home soil.
Final Verdict: Back India to beat West Indies in the test series at 1.08 on both Betway and Bet365.