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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014
Tri-nation series: India face motivation, fitness test
AFP
Port of Spain, July 04, 2013
First Published: 19:26 IST(4/7/2013)
Last Updated: 18:14 IST(5/7/2013)

India face a test of motivation and fitness against the West Indies in a must-win fixture for the World Cup holders as the Tri-Nation Series resumes on Friday at the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain.

India are still smarting from the 161-run hammering administered by Sri Lanka on Tuesday at Sabina Park.

The squad, now being led by Virat Kohli in the absence of the injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni, have had very little turnaround time before going back into battle.

On Friday they face a home side that is confident and riding high at the top of the standings with two wins in two matches in Jamaica, including a one-wicket victory over the Indians last Sunday.

Defeat on Friday will end any chance of India reaching the final on July 11.

And while this may be seen as a huge embarrassment for the world's top One-Day International to be effectively eliminated less than two weeks after lifting the Champions Trophy in England, it does raise questions about the Indians' ability to stay motivated in the midst of an intense period of almost continuous cricket going back to the start of the Indian Premier League at the beginning of April.

They looked a jaded, almost disinterested outfit in the field against the Sri Lankans and never mounted any serious challenge at the crease to the daunting target of 349.

However in coming to Trinidad and Tobago for the final stages of the tournament, they can expect significantly greater spectator support than in Jamaica.

For the historical experience of the importation of indentured labour from the Indian sub-continent in the latter half of the 19th century means there is a significant ethnic Indian population in the twin-island state, some of whom remain inclined towards supporting India over the West Indies.

For the Caribbean side, concerns remain over the fitness of Dwayne Bravo.

The all-rounder could not lead the team in the match against India because of a groin strain and it probably will not be confirmed until just before the toss whether he returns or if fellow Trinidadian Kieron Pollard will again be called upon to captain the West Indies.

Tickets have been completely sold out for Friday's fixture, ensuring the sort of atmosphere in the ground that could be a boost to both sides, not just the hosts.


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