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West Indies tour of India

2 Tests, 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is

The tour begins on 4th of October at Rajkot and ends on 11th November at Chennai with a T20I. 

After a couple of away losses to South Africa (2-1) and England (4-1), this is a good opportunity for India to get back to the groove at home. On the other hand, West Indies would be itching to capitalize on India’s recent failures.

The beginning of winter in India would mean pleasant weather conditions with some October heat. We can expect the pitches to turn and thus India will be back to the strategy of 2 or 3 spinners in Tests. 

It will be interesting to see if one or both of Kuldeep Yadav and Yazuvendra Chahal get a look in the Tests. These two have already become the backbone of Indian spin attack in ODIs which is unlikely to change.

While India are clear favorites for Tests and ODIs, T20 Internationals could turn out to be a more closely fought contest. West Indies are the current T20 champions and their players play for various franchises across the globe. Experience in IPL will be very handy as well. 

WI is a tough team to beat in T20s. Nobody can forget the 4 consecutive sixes by Carlos Brathwaite that won them the last T20I World Cup.

Australia and Pakistan in UAE

2 Tests and 3 T20Is

The tour begins on 7th of October and ends on 10th of November. 

UAE has been Pakistan’s home venue since 2009. While Abu Dhabi and Dubai stadiums get one Test each, all the T20Is are set to happen in Dubai.

After the suspensions of Smith, Warner, and Bancroft in the ball tampering row, Australia have included 5 uncapped players in the squad for this series.

The conditions in UAE have always been conducive to spin. Playing without their prime spin players in Smith and Warner would be a matter of concern for Australia. The absence of frontline fast bowlers - Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins – will only make the matters worse for their new captain Tim Paine.

Pakistan, on the other hand, have dropped Amir from the Test squad. The fragile batting order and absence of leading fast bowlers make this an even context for Australia and Pakistan. 

While Sarfaraz Nawaz would be looking to put the Asia Cup debacle past him, Tim Paine will be leading his team for the first time for a full Test series.

England tour of Sri Lanka

5 ODIs, 1 T20I and 3 Tests

The tour begins with an ODI at Dambulla on 10th October and concludes with third Test match starting in Colombo on 23rd November.

Sri Lanka have dropped Angelo Matthews for ODI and T20Is after the first-round exit in the Asia Cup. That is a big blow for the already shaky Sri Lankan batting line up that failed to chase a couple of small targets against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup-2018.

England have been a much-improved outfit in ODI since the last couple of years and have a great chance of registering a rare ODI series win in the subcontinent against a demoralized Sri Lankan ODI team.

For the Tests, Sri Lanka have included as many as 5 spinners in their squad. Unfortunately, England will be without their greatest player of spin bowling - Alastair Cook. It is going to be trial by spin for England. With not much experience of playing spin in that batting lineup, things look very dicey for English Test team.

Barring India-West Indies Test series, the other two series will most likely be close encounters. The involved teams are missing some key players, have similar on and off the field issues to deal with while each of them is looking to build a team for the future keeping in mind the Test championship set to begin in 2019. 

These contests bring a lot of context to the bigger picture and are not the ones to be missed.

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