12.30am AEST tonight. First of a 3-match series in Florida and Guyana.
One of the things Virat Kohli spoke about in his press conference before leaving India was the opportunity the cricket calendar - with three forms of the game - afforded in getting over defeats that sting. India have had almost a month to lick their wounds after the loss against New Zealand in the World Cup 2019 semi-final. Now, with the World Test Championship getting underway and the T20 World Cup in 14 months, there are already fresh challenges to prepare for.
Their tour of the Caribbean begins with the three-match T20I series, with the first two matches in Lauderhill. The last time these teams played at Lauderhill, one match was rained out, and the other ended in a thrilling manner, with West Indies winning by just one run. Three years on, the current series forms an interesting clash of cricketing ethos. While India have often brought an ODI approach to 20-overs cricket, West Indies played large tracts of the World Cup as if in T20 mode.
These games could be the first ones in which each team begins putting together pieces for the T20 World Cup next year. India have an influx of younger players, with some changes enforced by absence and injury. West Indies are without Chris Gayle, whose international future even in the medium term seems uncertain at best. That could be a blessing, because it will allows West Indies to try out a replacement, keeping the T20 World Cup in mind.
India have some new faces in the squad, but there's still an abundance of options who are most at home batting in the top three. Regular openers Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan are back together with Dhawan having recovered from his broken finger, and there's Kohli. In addition, they have KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey. At least two of those three seem certain to bat out of position, which can be a distinct contrast in a 20-overs game. The wristspinning duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have been rested, which should give the team management the option to try a number of exciting options.
India XI (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 KL Rahul, 5 Manish Pandey/Shreyas Iyer, 6 Rishabh Pant (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Deepak Chahar/Navdeep Saini, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Khaleel Ahmed, 11 Rahul Chahar
Andre Russell was expected to be one of the players igniting West Indies' World Cup campaign, but the only things that flared up were his knees. He has since had surgery and was named in the T20I squad, subject to a fitness test. On the eve of the first T20I, Cricket West Indies said the allrounder experienced some discomfort during the GLT20 Canada, and has been replaced by Jason Mohammed. Even without Russell, captain Carlos Brathwaite has plenty of power - hitting and bowling - at his disposal.
West Indies XI (probable): 1 John Campbell, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Rovman Powell, 7 Carlos Brathwaite (capt), 8 Sunil Narine, 9 Khary Pierre, 10 Sheldon Cottrell, 11 Keemo Paul/Oshane Thomas
Read and watch preview for 1st T20I 2019, India tour of United States of America and West Indies 2019 only on ESPNcricinfo.comwww.espncricinfo.com