By Ravi Madholall
Former West Indies opening batsman Rajendra Chandrika is backing West Indies to dominate proceedings against Afghanistan in all three formats when the actions get cracking next month in India.
West Indies will play three T20s, three one-day internationals and a one-off test and the Guyanese Chandrika feels the Caribbean boys are hot favourite to beat Afghanistan because they have a young and talented bunch of guys.
West Indies will be led by hard-hitting middle-order batsman and Trinidadian Kieron Pollard and he will have a set of young and talented players at his disposal and that what gives Chandrika, who featured in five tests, the confidence to see them churning out winning performances.
“Definitely, the two sides looked great with some young guys who are capable of making a big impression in India; West Indies are familiar with the conditions which should give them the advantage on these turning pitches in India as well,” the 30-year-old Chandrika stated.
In the one-day version, West Indies are currently ranked number nine while their opponents Afghanistan is placed just below them at number 10. But ironically, the reigning T20 World Cup champions West Indies are below at number 9 while Afghanistan who are at number 8 in the 20-over format.
No doubt about the ability of the Afghanistan team, they have shown great progress over the years with their game, but West Indies have a more talented combination to defeat them in both the limited-over and test series, we have some ‘eager’ players who certainly will want to do well on this tour, and I am confident of West Indies coming out victorious” Chandrika, who represented his country, Franchise team Leeward Islands and West Indies tour matches in 58 first-class matches, revealed.
The opening encounter between the two teams will be the first one-day match at Dehradun, on November 6.
Chandrika, who recently played in Canada representing the victorious Vikings Cricket Club in the annual Toronto and District Cricket Association one-day season, believes that new face batsman Brandon King is a supreme talent and great to see him getting an opportunity to showcase his aggressive batting ability in T20 games.
King featured for runners-up Guyana Amazon Warriors in this year’s Caribbean Premier League and produced some sterling batting performances while young left-arm spinner Hayden Walsh Jr done well for the eventual champions Barbados Trident and duly called up for the Afghanistan series.
“Obviously, the selectors have chosen some good players who in fine form and with Brandon and Hayden now selected for the first time along with several seasoned campaigners, West Indies should be more than inspired to win their games ,” Chandrika disclosed.
In both the T20 and one-day lineups, West Indies have got youngsters Nicolas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Khary Pierre, Keemo Paul, Alzari Joseph and Romario Shepherd as some future stars.
Meanwhile, the side will once again have Barbadian fast-bowler Jason Holder as captain. The test begins November 27 just after the limited-over series. Afghanistan will be led by the exciting spinner Rashid Khan.