India will be looking forward to wrapping up the series when they meet hosts West Indies in Antigua. The series has been a cakewalk for the Indians so far. Apart from slight hints of competition, there has been no display of a one on one contest between the two sides.
The third match played at the same venue on Friday was the best chance West Indies had to level the series and offer something to cheer for their tired fans. But, they flunked. The upcoming match wouldn’t have been a series winning opportunity for India but the nightmarish performance from the hosts ensured that the visitors won despite under par showing with the bat.
But, looking forward, Virat Kohli can finally test the players warming the bench and rest some of the names who have playing regularly. There is a chance that Dinesh Kartik and Ravindra Jadeja might come in. But the biggest excitement is surrounding the inclusion of Delhi opener Rishabh Pant.
Rishabh Pant, the lad with a mix of brutal power and class, deserves a chance. After all the Under-19 performances and IPL blitz, the 19-year-old left-handed opener is ready to rock and roll at the international level.
His inclusion in the West Indies squad was a bright sign. It gave an assurance to the fans that the selection panel led by MSK Prasad was keen on trying new promising names at the earliest to help them soak some international experience in the lead up to the 2019 World Cup.
This anticipation also made fans believe that Pant would be given a chance in the first ODI itself. But Virat Kohli went with the tested lineup. The second and the third ODI also witnessed the same anticipation but Kohli continued to stay away from testing the youngster.
However, the fourth, as well as the fifth ODI, provides a great opportunity for Team India and Kohli to let the youngster taste a bit of international cricket. It will not only help him gain exposure but also ensure some fireworks. The series is lacking the ‘masala’ factor. So far it has been a dull affair. The 9 am crowd has been literally sleeping in the stands as player bore them out by the halfway stage of the match. Only Pant promises to make some change.