Team India will be facing West Indies away from home in a two-match Test series starting from July 12. This is also their first assignment in the new World Test Championship (WTC) cycle and no wonder are being deemed the favourites to win the series. However, there is more than what meets to the eye as the bowling attack is heavily inexperienced as compared to that of West Indies.
Even though the Caribbean side failed to qualify for the World Cup, they are a potent Test side especially at home. They defeated England twice at home and drew series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The likes of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder are established at the Test level with 580 wickets between them while Alzarri Joseph is also in his prime and is fast becoming the best fast bowler of the team.
On the contrary, India's pace attack carries a total experience of 88 Test wickets with Mohammed Siraj being the senior having scalped 52 of them. Mohammed Shami has been rested for this series to manage his workload ahead of the ODI World Cup while suspense continues over Jasprit Bumrah's return to Test cricket. Moreover, India have moved on from Ishant Sharma while Umesh Yadav who is reportedly injured (or dropped) is already 35.
Apart from Siraj, India's pace attack comprises Jaydev Unadkat, Mukesh Kumar, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini. Among them, Thakur has featured in nine Tests, Unadkat has played two, in 12 years, and Navdeep Saini played a couple of Tests in 2021. Mukesh Kumar is yet to make his debut and this makes the pace attack look extremely inexperienced in front of West Indies.
Siraj will have to step up not only with the new ball but also when things are not happening. In case, the pitch doesn't help spinners during the Test series, team India might find themselves in trouble and the inexperienced bowling attack will definitely be put to test. The last time India went into the Test series with no bowler boasting of more than 100 wickets in the format was in 2013-14 season at home against West Indies where spin played a major part.