It's a time of transition in Indian Test cricket at the moment and the West Indies is the place where the signals will be apparent. As India and West Indies gear up for the first Test, the visitors know that this series will be no cakewalk by any stretch of imagination.
India are short on experience in the pace department with Mohammad Siraj being the only fast bowler with 50 plus Test wickets. He has 52. Although, this situation was in the coming for a long time as Indian fast bowlers made their mark world over and the years went by, it is Mohammad Shami getting rested that has led to the inexperienced to be exposed.
If India's spinners are negated by the West Indies batsmen, then the visitors could be in for a real challenge, as the Caribbeans have been a strong force at home in Test cricket in recent times.
West Indies' pace-bowling attack could rattle India:
The hosts have beaten England in successive home series, drawn with Sri Lanka and Pakistan but beaten by both India and South Africa.
West Indies pace department carries quite a swagger and bite with the likes of Kemar Roach, who is among the top-five all-time wicket-takers for them, Shannon Gabriel is constantly on the rise with his bowling, Jason Holder has an average of under 30 and Alzarri Joseph is reaching the peak of his prowess.
For India, it's not just the pace bowling department that is in transition but their leadership group knows their stay depends on how the World Cup pans later this year. Hence, the selectors are balancing it out mixing the youth and experience. Yashasvi Jaiswal, who is likely to be Cheteshwar Pujara's replacement at the No 3 slot, could be unleashed but the rest of the batting order could remain untouched.
Indian trio in the wrong side of 30s:
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane have been tireless servants of Indian cricket but they are probably on the last stretch of their illustrious careers. This kind of transition is natural with all international teams but what has worsened matters for India is the injuries.
The selectors, team management, fans and the media will have to be patient as the Indian team works its way around the transitional phase. Rebuilding takes time just like in 2011 when Zaheer Khan was rested and it took a while before a once-in-a-generation talent like Jasprit Bumrah arrived on the scene.
India will play two crucial away tours later this year in South Africa and Australia and the results of those tours will determine their fortunes in the 2023-2025 World Test Championship cycle.