West Indies Vs Pakistan, Match Preview
Empty stadiums, rain, and a dead surface lie ahead of the two sides as the first Tests promises to be a dull affair. The forecast isn’t promising, but the stakes for the match are pretty good. Both Pakistan and West Indies are kicking off their World Test Championship and will hope to perform to challenge the sides that finished higher in the table last time.
West Indies finished second to last in the previous cycle and are fresh off a 2-0 defeat to South Africa in a series played under the previous WTC cycle. The series was played recently, and if a similar performance continues, the West Indies may not go too far in the current edition. The West Indies bowling attack is full of talent, but their batting remains inconsistent.
The batting did well to whitewash Bangladesh in Bangladesh but quickly brought back to Earth against South Africa. Performances indicate that the batting has some class, but West Indies has struggled to put up strong performances regularly.
For Pakistan, the current World Test Championship gives them the best chance of qualifying for the final. They have a string of simple away fixtures against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies.
The Pakistan middle-order consists of strong batters with Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, and Fawad Alam present. The bowling is pretty strong as well, although the form of some bowlers is a concern. Yasir Shah, in particular, has lost his touch over the years and will be hoping to set things right in the West Indies.
For now, the bowling looks good, and Pakistan will start as favorites ahead of the series.
West Indies Vs Pakistan, Team News
The West Indies batting is in the spotlight, with the batters struggling to put up individual performances regularly.
The last time Pakistan visited the West Indies, they did well with spin and might be tempted to use two spinners this time. Playing two spinners, though, may make their lower order weaker with someone like Faheem Ashraf missing out.
West Indies Vs Pakistan, Predicted XIs
West Indies (possible): 1 Kraigg Brathwaite (capt) 2 Kieron Powell 3 Nkrumah Bonner 4 Shamarh Brooks 5 Jermaine Blackwood/Roston Chase 6 Jason Holder 7 Joshua da Silva (wk) 8 Alzarri Joseph 9 Rakheem Cornwall 10 Kemar Roach 11 Jayden Seales
Pakistan: (probable): 1 Abid Ali 2 Imran Butt 3 Azhar Ali 4 Babar Azam (capt) 5 Fawad Alam 6 Mohammad Rizwan (wk) 7 Faheem Ashraf/Nauman Ali 7 Hasan Ali 9 Yasir Shah 10 Mohammad Abbas 11 Shaheen Shah Afridi
West Indies Vs Pakistan, Players to Watch out for
The West Indies have struggled to put up strong individual performances with the bat. Barring the Bangladesh series, there haven’t been too many innings to talk about. Nkrumah Bonner, though, has made the right noise ahead of the series. He made 134 in a warm-up game and seems in good form. His batting looks good, and it will be interesting to see if he can make a big score to set the game up for the West Indies.
Yasir Shah and Mohammad Abbas were central figures when Pakistan beat the West Indies last time. They come back with some poor form behind them and are both a little older now. Yasir Shah, in particular, has struggled off late, and the series is crucial for him. With conditions likely to support spin, Yasir Shah’s experience could be handy.
West Indies Vs Pakistan, Pitch, and Conditions
The weather forecast doesn’t look very promising with a lot of rain on offer. The game may see some significant interruptions, and a result seems unlikely looking at the forecast. The surface is on the slower side, and there is decent balance for batters and bowlers. Pacers may find it tough to generate bounce, and the surface will be lifeless early on.