West Indies and India meet in a five match one-day series from Friday. Things move on quickly in ODI cricket, no? You’re right. It was only on Sunday that India was playing – and losing – the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan.
But they have to get straight back on with it in the Caribbean. Not that it should be too taxing against a West Indies team which beat top eight sides about as often as Donald Trump pieces together coherent sentences.
If West Indies picked their best players, like, oh I don’t know, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine (we could go on), this would be a terrific betting heat. But they don’t. So it isn’t.
Are India at full strength? Well, almost. Virat Kohli, fresh from deposing Anil Kumble as coach, Shikhar Dhawan, the top runscorer in the Champions Trophy, MS Dhoni, Ravi Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Hardik Pandya and Yuvraj Singh are present and correct. Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah have a rest.
They should be far too powerful here. But it’s not much fun to bet at the odds is it? So we have to trawl the other markets for a wager.
And there are a couple of top-bat and top-bowler prices which leap off the page. The first is on the top West Indies bowler market.
Ashley Nurse, a wily and experienced campaigner, has little to beat and his brand of off-spin should do well on a Port of Spain surface which can take tweak. He has the best strike rate of any of his team-mates in recent times – that’s important because it’s the number of balls needed to take a wicket.
For our top-bat bet we going to take a bit of a punt. Rovman Powell could well be so good one day that the West Indies won’t want to pick him. In other words he’ll be a regular on the T20 circuit.
He is an all-rounder in the guise of Andre Russell and has plenty of muscle. So does his price. Skybook go +1200 and we think that is way too big for a guy who can hit a long ball. Be lucky.