World Cup 2019: India hope to manage injuries and weather against NZ

Updated: Jun 13, 2019, 08:07 IST | Santosh Suri

India will hope top-order batsmen do not replicate warm-up match failure against table-toppers New Zealand

World Cup 2019: India hope to manage injuries and weather against NZ
India skipper Virat Kohli with coach Ravi Shastri on the eve of their match against New Zealand at Nottingham yesterday. Pics/PTI, AFP

Two things that a team cannot control are injuries and weather. India will have to manage both when up against New Zealand at Trent Bridge today in the third game of their World Cup campaign.

It is well known that India rely heavily on their Top-3 batsmen and any disruption is obviously going to affect the balance of the side. After an injury to their in-form opener Shikhar Dhawan, the team management is looking at KL Rahul to fill the vacancy and hoping that he forms as strong an opening alliance as Rohit Sharma has had with Dhawan. Rahul's elevation means there is one spot to be filled in the middle-order and the team management has a couple of options. It could be the experienced Dinesh Karthik, unless the think-tank feels Vijay Shankar is a better choice for his added utility as a pace bowler.

KL Rahul bats in the nets yesterday
KL Rahul bats in the nets yesterday

How well India will be able to cover up for Dhawan's absence only time will tell, but what they will be more worried about is the weather conditions prevailing at the moment. Though the rain abated yesterday morning and India were able to work out at the ground, they will be hoping that the elements do not interfere much during the match. In all probability, the game will be played in overcast conditions with omnipresent threat of rain.

In similar conditions in the warm-up game at The Oval a fortnight ago, the Indian batters found the New Zealand pace attack too hot to handle and fell in a heap. The Kiwis must be licking their lips seeing the conditions akin to back home. Trent Boult & Co can be devastating in such conditions and India will have to be at their best to ward off the threat.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma

Luckily for India, almost all their batsmen have had at least one good outing in the two matches that they have won against South Africa and Australia. They have acclimatised well and are confident enough to handle any challenge, be it injuries or the weather.

Rohit is in excellent form and so is skipper Virat Kohli, while Rahul has given enough indications of being in decent touch. Much will depend on the trio to lay the foundation for the batsmen to follow. If they are able to ward off the first 10-15 overs without much damage, then India will be able to control the match better.

Of course, as a bowling unit India have done pretty well and following the plans laid down by the team management to the last detail. They were able to keep the batsmen of the caliber of David Warner and Steven Smith in check. With the conditions being what they are, India could well be tempted to add Mohammed Shami to the line-up at the expense of Kuldeep Yadav, especially if there is a greater threat of a rain and a resultant curtained match.

India's bowling coach Bharat Arun said that India have all the eventualities well covered. "It's great to have a bowler of the experience of Mohammed Shami waiting in the wings. You have to wait your chance and be ready to grab the opportunities when they come. So is the case with Ravindra [Jadeja]."

Without doubt India are keeping their options open, especially as there is no knowing how the match-day will dawn. One only hopes the weather relents and helps India complete another comprehensive win before they run into arch-rivals Pakistan in Manchester on Sunday.

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