India clear favourites against West Indies

India clear favourites against West Indies

Last Updated: Mon, Jul 01, 2013 07:07 hrs

India, the number one team in the world take on a resurgent West Indies team in their first match after winning the ICC Champions Trophy.

Such is the hectic schedule of international cricket nowadays that players have got to get used quickly to not just the change in formats, but also the different weather and pitch conditions in the different countries that they play in.

The Indians will be happy to play with the sun on their backs as they are used to at home and also without the need to wear the jumpers or have the hand warmers in their trouser pockets as they had to do in England.

The latter activity does give rise to a lot of negative comment especially from the warmth of the commentary and media box but the reality is that it helps the fielders keep their palms and fingers dry and warm so even if a powerful drive or a church steepler of a catch comes their way they will not feel the sting as much if their hands were out in the cold.

The Indian fielding has been the talking point of the Champions Trophy and just about every former player rated it as the best unit in the tournament.

This is team full of youth who have grown up watching the sliding stop and the dive and have taken to it naturally. They have been helped enormously by the fact that most cricket grounds in India now have lush green outfields where they will not tear off the skin off their knees and elbows and so are quite fearless in attempting those slides and dives.

There also seems a healthy competition among themselves as to who is the best fielder in the team and that fuels their energies even more.

Whatever it is, it is a wonderful sight and to see these youngsters chasing down the ball like the leopards chase down their prey is a sight to behold.

It is their natural athleticism which is magnetic and Dhoni is in the enviable position of not needing to hide any of his players. What he is also doing is using the right fielders in the deep who can save the boundaries and return the ball back quickly and that is a huge plus especially in the final overs when batsmen are looking for maximum runs.

The West Indies have shown with an impressive win over Sri Lanka that they will be quite a different proposition than in 2011 when the Gayle ban saga was playing out in the Caribbean.

Now the big man has resolved his differences and by getting a quickfire century plus the bonus point in the first match against the Lankans, he has thrown the gauntlet at the number one team. His big home crowd will be noisy and love every ball that he cracks and the Indians will have a battle on their hands if he gets going.

India will start as the favourites after their Champions Trophy win and hopefully they are back on track after the well-deserved celebrations. 

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