After a rather limp start, the ICC Cricket World Cup finally found some music when Bangladesh thumped South Africa and then Pakistan bounced back and took down England. There is vibe, emotions and now the Indian team will take the field.
Virat Kohli and company look a relaxed unit – they have not yet played a game, but the camp looks at ease. For Kohli, the bigger concern on the eve of the match will be to pick a side which has all the bases covered.
COMPLETE COVERAGE OF ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019
If forecasts are to be believed, there will be a cloud cover over Southampton on Wednesday, which could tempt the management to opt for Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the third seamer in the team. In the tournament so far, fast bowlers have been more successful and as such, India with three genuine seamers along with Hardik Pandya might be a more feasible option.
If Bhuvneshwar is indeed included, it could then see a tussle between Kedar Jadhav, who has regained his fitness, and Ravindra Jadeja as the second all-rounder in the side after Hardik Pandya. Three seamers, two wrist-spinner, Hardik Pandya and another all-rounder could give Kohli six bowling options, but then the batting becomes slightly weak.
Now what is the condition of the pitch and what does the past record say? Southampton has been a belter for batsmen in the recent past and the numbers are quite telling – the average first-innings score is 311. The seam bowlers average 58.4 and have given away runs with an economy rate of 6.4. The spinners, on the other hand, average 60.1 and concede runs at an average of 6.0.
So while Kohli wants to attack with his bowlers, especially the wrist-spinners, these numbers are quite telling and will have a bearing on the eventual team combination.
Here we take a look at India’s predicted XI for the match against South Africa:
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah