New Delhi, Oct 10 :
Having suffered a humiliating defeat against the West Indies in the first One-Day International (ODI) of the five-match series, hosts India will look to regain some pride and turn the corner in the second ODI at the Feroz Shah Kotla here Saturday.
India lost by a massive 124 runs at the Nehru Stadium, succumbing to their second biggest margin of loss against a visiting team, nine runs less than their biggest loss of 135 runs in 2002.
“We are positive despite the defeat and are working hard. Our focus is to play smart cricket to win the match. We are a strongly-knit bunch of players and one loss doesn’t affect our moral,” opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan said at a press conference here Friday.
The West Indies did and still do have problems of their own. The build-up to the match was dampened by an unwanted yet longstanding dispute over a payment agreement that once raised the possibility of the first ODI being boycotted by the visiting team.
But timely intervention by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) neutralised that possibility.
Sanjay Patel Thursday said the BCCI will be happy to help the WICB as a “mediator” once the series ends but denied that BCCI paid the disgruntled players or WICB prior to the Kochi ODI.
In these circumstances, it should have been relatively easy for India, the world champions, to begin the series with a thumping victory, which should have set the tone for the remainder of the series.
But they began the series on a wrong foot.
Guilty of being a little complacent, the Indian bowling were smashed all over the park, chiefly by Marlon Samuels who helped himself to a stroke-filled unbeaten 126.
He was particularly severe towards the end of their innings, dispatching to the boundary anything loose offered by Indians.
India’s much vaunted batting line-up too floundered, getting bowled out for a mere 197 runs with only opener Shikhar Dhawan getting among runs.
The poor batting form that plagued Virat Kohli in India’s tour of England stretched to home soil.
He managed to score only two while the Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) Champions League Twenty20 winning duo of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina also failed to get going.
“We analysed several games of the India-England series to study some India players. We are trying to expose their weakness. We are aware that beating India at home is difficult and there’s a long way to go in the series but we are ready for it,” West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo said.
“This is the best all-round West Indies team I have played in. We are missing Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine but the team is still very confident. I am particularly glad to see Samuels among runs”.
For the Caribbeans, injured Lendl Simmons remains doubtful and Bravo, who stepped up to open at Kochi, said he will take a final call Saturday morning, as to who will open their innings.