Virat Kohli adds another feather in his cap, as India jump to No. 1 spot in Tests © AFP
Virat Kohli adds another feather in his cap, as India jump to No. 1 spot in Tests © AFP

The year 2016, by all means, seems to be Virat Kohli‘s. His batsmanship this year requires no explanation anymore. Even his captaincy skills has caught everyone’s attention, sometimes inspiring and but at times vague. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, the result matters, which eventually have favoured the Indian captain. And now, he has added another feather in his cap, as he will lead the current No. 1 Test team in the final Test against West Indies at Port of Spain, after Sri Lanka bowled Australia to stupefying whitewash. However, for India to remain at the top, they have to win the series 3-0; else Pakistan will dethrone them and India will go down to the second spot. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs West Indies, 4th Test match

West Indies, on the other hand, stutter at No. 8, above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Having already lost the series, they have no option but to play for pride, a word that has gradually turned into a cliché. Let alone pride, it’s about time the selectors make right decision and regain West Indies cricket’s lost paradise.

To shed some light on the track, the curator has dished out a wicket that will favour the batsmen for the first half of the match as well as yield enough turn and bounce for the spinners.

Without any hesitation, the team calling the toss right will opt to bat first and pile on as many runs they can. Be that as it may, even if India bowl first, they have the bullying spin duo of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in their armory.

Ashwin, with his height and lethal fingers, in all probability, will tangle the struggling West Indian batsmen in spin. Jadeja, on the other hand, has a reputation of outfoxing the greatest of batsmen with his wily arm-ball. Also read: 5 West Indies cricketers to watch out for

To make things worse for West Indies, India’s pace unit has, so far, left no stone unturned to unnerve the oppositions’ batting with seam and swing. And this is why Kohli’s five-bowler strategy has kept India ahead in the race.

All in all, pacers have taken 29 wickets and spinners 25.

West Indies bowling has looked absolutely toothless. Barring Miguel Cummins, none of the bowlers average below 30s. Agreed that the visitors boast of few of the classiest batsmen of this generation, but Jason Holder’s men looked lackluster, failing to bowl well in tandem.

Their batting has not been any different. With only one hundred in six innings compared to India’s six hundreds in four innings, it states West Indies’ misery to bat for long hours in Tests.

Kohli, however, startled everyone by selecting Murali Vijay over Rohit Sharma. Though the Mumbai batsmen amassed 50 runs in two innings, a player of Vijay’s panache should unarguably get a nod, given his peerless contribution overseas (we need not even mention his staggering figures). Thus, the question arises: if Vijay is to play, who will he replace?

If Cheteshwar Pujara was dropped citing inconsistent performance, drafting out the erratic Shikhar Dhawan would be fair and square. Judging by the numbers, Vijay is well ahead of Pujara, Dhawan and Rohit. And with Kohli backing Rohit’s superlative talent (time and again), Dhawan is likely to make way for the class-apart Vijay. For that to happen, we will have to wait and watch what Kohli has to say at the toss. Also read: 5 Indian cricketers to watch out for

The prediction of this contest is no-brainer. Dominant India will aim to finish the campaign 3-0. And, if anything, West Indies have to at least emulate what they did on the final day of the second Test; even a draw would steal the No. 1 spot from India, a consolation for them at the end of a grueling series.

Squads:

West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Kraigg Brathwaite, Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Shai Hope, Leon Johnson, Alzarri Joseph, Marlon Samuels.

India: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Stuart Binny, Amit Mishra.

Time: 19:30 IST | 10:00 local | 14:00 GMT

(Kaustubh S. Mayekar, a reporter at CricketCountry, played cricket at U-16 level. Like his idol Rahul Dravid, he often shadow-practises cricket shots. His Twitter handle is @kaumedy_)