Cricket: KL Rahul to miss the entire T20I series against West Indies; a replacement unlikely

Cricket openning

Covid-hit India opening batsman KL Rahul is set to miss all of the T20Is against West Indies. Though the isolation period has ended, the medical staff at BCCI has advised him another week of rest.

The 5-match T20I series against West Indies is scheduled to start on 29th July at Tarouba. Earlier, it was anticipated that KL Rahul may join the men in blue for the USA leg of the T20Is.

Now it is clear that the 30-year old will completely miss the T20Is series against West Indies and focus on recuperating for the next week or two.

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No replacement for KL Rahul – Pant to open?

BCCI will not be naming any replacement for KL Rahul. As such, India is left with two options to fill his slot in the playing XI – Rishabh Pant and Ishan Kishan. Both are aggressive left-handed batsmen with an ability to hit the long ball.

Rishabh Pant clearly has more experience and is in much better form having dominated the international stage in recent years.

Ishan Kishan, on the other hand, is a regular opener for MI and has opened for India as well. His recent season with his IPL franchise was disappointing to say the least.

Can Ishan Kishan deliver against West Indies?

Since his debut against England in 2021, Ishan Kishan has scored 532 runs from 18 innings at a strike rate of 132.67.

He started the year 2022 with a home series against West Indies where he managed to score just 73 runs from 3 innings at 85.54 strike rate.

Not great numbers when you’re staking claim at the opening slot for a T20I series at the opposition’s home.

Apart from his proven ability, the only recent stats that could help Ishan Kishan’s case are that of his performance against South Africa in June 2022.

With no Kohli and Rohit in the Indian squad, Ishan Kishan amassed 206 runs in 5 innings striking at 150.36. This included 2 half centuries and 11 sixes.

Can failure as an opener affect Pant’s momentum?

Opening in T20Is demands an aggressive approach from the batter. Rishab Pant is known for his risk-taking abilities across every format of the game.

The Sharma-Pant duo, on their best day, can take the game away from the opposition in the powerplay itself. However, it is a risky business. And the coach has got to consider the downside of it.

If Pant fails to deliver as an opener in this 5-match series, would it affect his confidence and momentum?

Given the Asia Cup T20 is around the corner and T20 World Cup is also scheduled for later this year, is it a risk worth taking?

Shreyas Iyer rising steadily as a great number 3 option 

Iyer reached the 1000-runs mark in ODIs with a fifty in his 1st match of the ODI series on this tour. He was 3rd fastest Indian to reach this milestone, taking just one match more than Virat Kohli.

With Iyer being a likely number 3 for the T20I series as well, there’s opportunities galore for the KKR skipper. We would be getting ahead of ourselves if we were to suggest that Iyer’s rise in the team could create troubles for the former India skipper.

There’s a long way to go for Shreyas Iyer and Kohli is one of the greatest batsmen the game has ever seen. However, if Virat doesn’t return to form soon enough, questions would be raised, and Iyer will present himself as an option.

Cricket open

WI vs IND T20Is will offer great betting opportunities

The two sides have some of the best T20 players in the world. When India and West Indies clash, there will be no one-sided business.

The betting odds during in-play are likely to change often and by a huge margin. That is where punters can find opportunities for value bets.

When the T20I series goes to the USA, you can expect very high scoring games in Florida. In a high scoring game, you can never be sure of who is winning until the last ball of the innings is bowled.

This means the odds for the winner will always be changing and offer great value throughout the match.

For the 1st T20I, the Analytics feature at Parimatch suggests India as a likely winner with 11 wins from their last 15 T20Is.

Betting Tips for the WI vs IND 1st T20I

Back India to win the 1st T20I at 1.59 odds with Parimatch.

Pro Tip – To get even higher odds and bigger winnings, add New Zealand and Bangladesh to your bet slip.

New Zealand will be taking on Scotland while Bangladesh goes up against Zimbabwe in a T20I series.

Parimatch even offers a bonus of up to 100% on your parlay bets.

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