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Hosts Pakistan hot favourites against West Indies in 3-match T20I series

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While for most disbelievers who would’ve reckoned that a T20 contest that too in Pakistan could be a perfect April Fool’s joke, given their board’s inability to hone an abundantly talented side and their players’ past erroneous deeds and misconduct, there could be no better news that the home team are all set to clash with West Indies in a T20 series.
It’s often been said that Cricket needs to make a comeback in Pakistan. And must it be added, desperately so. Therefore, there could be nothing better than building excitement about a format that is essentially everyone’s favorite nowadays. And one that happens to be a contest where Pakistan are admirably at the top of the ICC rankings: T20s.

Cricket resumes in Pakistan

Therefore, in a bid to revive the cricketing culture in a country that is no stranger to producing stars and match-winners, the West Indies, agreed to play a 3-T20 match series beginning April 1, 2018. This is a decision that Pakistan has hugely appreciated but not necessarily one that the Windies fans would be too excited about. Fresh from their World Cup qualifying success, the West Indies are to T20s what Caribbean dash and flair were in the 70s and 80s.
But while the idea of a Pakistan v West Indies T20 series offers mouth-watering excitement, for fans back in the Caribbean it throws open a reminder of what happened when the two last featured in a 4-match T20 series in the Caribbean.
In 2017, West Indies, despite being heavy-duty performers in a format where they’ve won the world title crown twice and the hosts to Pakistan were thrashed by visitors by a compelling margin of 3-1. It could be argued back then there was no Gayle or Samuels but they were found wanting at home, not the most pleasing site.  West Indies ran the risk of being nearly whitewashed by a resurgent Pakistan at the back of the heroics of Babar Azam, Yasir Shah and, Mohammad Amir, they were left wanting in all aspects of their game- batting, bowling, and fielding.

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But the series poses questions at Windies

In the presence of only three experienced campaigners, luckily all three who’ve had a taste of T20 success- Marlon Samuels, Dinesh Ramdin and, Samuel Badree, the squad West Indies have chosen for the Pakistan T20 series looks seriously depleted and confusing. In the absence of established names, who’d just recently exhibited some flair and appetite for success in their memorable World Cup qualifying success- Chris Gayle, Shai Hope, Carlos Brathwaite, Evin Lewis- it remains to be seen what West Indies can produce in a squad whose captain is Jason Mohammad. Lest it be forgotten that Mohammad’s last half-century in the game came two years ago. This is when you somehow take the mind off the fact that their present T20 captain, makeshift that he may be hasn’t scored a three-figure mark in any of the formats.
That said, the series offers a great reason for fans to rejoice particularly in the wake of Dinesh Ramdin’s comeback into the sport after a nearly three year period of obscurity. With Samuels and Badree in the side, a lot will depend on the abilities of Rovman Powell, clearly their stand out all round star from the just concluded world cup qualifiers.

Pakistan start as favorites

When you speak of Pakistan, they start as favorites, not only because under Sarfraz Ahmed, they play to their boldest but also because they take on an opposition they’ve gladly thrashed in their last meeting. With big match players of the class of Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam being in the squad, clearly their most outstanding batsmen in briefer formats, Pakistan would be boosted by the presence of Amir and Hasan Ali, the latter having enjoyed a successful tour to West Indies in 2017 and later bursting into everyone’s attention for his Champions Trophy exploits. Renowned for playing firebrand cricket, it will take some really poor cricket for Pakistan to hand over the series they look so sure of winning.
But if the West Indies are to make something memorable of this juncture, they’ll have to bat out of their skins. In the absence of Brathwaite, a lot will depend on the newcomer Keemo Paul and Kesrick Williams, who’s been their pick of the bowlers in the shortest format.
Probable starting Eleven:
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali,  Mohammad Nawaz, Fahim Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammed Amir.
West Indies: Chadwick Walton, Andre Fletcher, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin, Jason Mohammed,  Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Samuel Badree, Andre McCarthy, Rayad Emrit, Kesrick Williams.
 

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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