After the T20I series, rain is likely to interrupt frequently in the first Test as well
It was only rain that dictated terms in the four-match T20I series between West Indies and Pakistan. The two teams will hope that the clouds stay clear for the Test series beginning on Friday (August 12). The cricket season on the Caribbean shores started with Test cricket and is set to end with the same format. The hosts will certainly look to end the season on a high but it won’t be easy for them.
West Indies’ Test batters have come into this series without much of a serious practice. They last played in June against South Africa and since then, were off the field with not much red-ball cricket played at the domestic level. Even the head coach Phil Simmons was disappointed with preparations of the format specialists. He even termed his team as ‘underdogs’ for this series against Pakistan.
Pakistan, meanwhile, defeated Zimbabwe in the two-match series in Tests and those were comfortable victories. They weren’t quite pushed at any moment and the visitors will be aware that West Indies are capable of doing that especially with their fiery pace attack. Babar Azam is in the middle of some good form thanks to his good form in limited-overs in England and a lot will depend on him on how Pakistan fare in this Test series.
This series also marks the beginning of the World Test Championship campaign for both the teams for 2021-23 cycle. Weather is set to play its role again like it did in the T20I series. Rain is likely to interrupt a lot over the next five days in Jamaica and one can only hope that enough play takes place to eke out a result.
Playing Combinations for WI vs PAK
West Indies have named a 17-man provisional squad and are expected to trim it to 13 members before the Test. They are missing Shannon Gabriel but have enough in the tank to unleash pacers. With Nkrumah Bonner returning, it remains to be seen if Shai Hope opens the innings to accommodate him in the middle-order. Kieran Powell who opened in the second Test against South Africa will have to wait for his chance in that case.
Probable XI: Shai Hope, Kraigg Brathwaite (C), Nrumah Bonner, Kyle Mayers, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Joshua Da Silva (WK), Alzarri Joseph, Jayden Seales, Jomel Warrican/Rahkeem Cornwall.
Given the conditions, Pakistan are also expected to field only one spinner and he will be undoubtedly Yasir Shah who has done well previously in the Caribbean. Also, with Nauman Ali, the second spinner, expected to be benched, Faheem Ashraf might get the nod. Expect no changes to their top six that played the second Test against Zimbabwe in May this year.
Probable XI: Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (C), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Abbas/Naseem Shah.
WI vs PAK Head to Head
Played – 52 | West Indies won – 17 | Pakistan won – 20 | Draw – 15 | Tied- 0
In West Indies
Played – 26 | West Indies won – 12 | Pakistan won – 7 | Draw – 7 | Tied- 0
Match Timings – 8:30 PM IST; 10 AM local
Live Streaming – Fancode