India bears little resemblance to the side which won the World Cup in April, as most of the largest stars are absent for the limited-overs leg of the West Indies tour that begins on Saturday with a one-off Twenty20.
West Indies is also hit by the absence of star players with yet another clash between the West Indies Cricket Board & the players' union on the horizon. Former skippers Chris Gayle & Shivnarine Chanderpaul, like they were before Pakistan's recent tour, are still offside with the board.
India isn't short of captains, either. Left-handed batsman Suresh Raina, who forced his way in to the India team only late in the World Cup, has been thrust in to the leadership role with Dhoni being rested & original replacement Gambhir being sidelined through a shoulder injury.
Raina, along together with his young charges, have another chance to push their case.
Raina led a similarly depleted India a year ago to Zimbabwe for a tri-series with the host & Sri Lanka. That inexperienced lineup won of matches, losing three times to Zimbabwe, & failed to advance to the final.
This tour also presents new coach Duncan Fletcher together with his first taste of international cricket since being selected to succeed Gary Kirsten.
Kirsten, the former South Africa opening batsman, bowed out on a winning note at the World Cup, while Fletcher's successful eight-year reign as England coach ended with a whimper in the Caribbean years earlier as they resigned after a poor outing in the 2007 World Cup.
Fletcher will lean heavily on Raina & Virat Kohli, a World Cup standout, to shoulder the batting without Tendulkar (rested), Sehwag (injured shoulder) & Yuvraj (upper respiratory infection).
There is also another opportunity for the enigmatic Rohit Sharma to transform his obvious star potential in to consistent achievement.
With ace Zaheer joining Dhoni in resting his weary body, the pace assault has also been reshuffled.
Other batting contenders Subramaniam Badrinath, Shikhar Dhawan, Manoj Tiwary as well as wicketkeeper/batsmen Parthiv Patel & Wriddhiman Saha are keen for their rare moment in the spotlight.
The beanpole Ishant Sharma & Vinay Kumar share the seam responsibility.
Harbhajan Singh, a veteran of 226 one-dayers, is the most experienced Indian & supports Raina as vice captain.
Praveen Kumar, forced to withdraw from the World Cup due to an elbow injury, returns keen to atone for that disappointment.
When Gayle wasn't thought about for the just-concluded Pakistan tour because they was reportedly recovering from injury, a storm erupted in the Caribbean when they joined the IPL & strode to the man of the event award with usually powerful batting for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The issue reared its ugly head again when they wasn't picked to meet India.
Harbhajan & fellow offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin renew their World Cup partnership with legspinner Amit Mishra in the wings.
No timeline for any meeting has been publicized.
The WICB said that until there's been clear-the-air talks between the former captain & the hierarchy of West Indies cricket, Gayle will stay sidelined.
Saturday's Twenty20 will be followed by one-day internationals from June 6-16. The three-test series begins on June twenty in Jamaica.
Chanderpaul has also recently been reproached by the board for his openly critical remarks &, although the veteran left-hander was unlikely to feature in the limited-overs leg of the series, his check career may be in jeopardy.
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