The Indian team management will try to keep cards close and assess defending champions England’s batting depth when the home team takes field for its first World Cup warm-up match game in Guwahati on Saturday. The warm-up games don’t have an official status. Both teams can use as many players as they want and check out how some of the players respond in specific match situations. However no team would like to go full throttle and expose all their players or strategies during these games.
But with England’s philosophy across formats undergoing a sea-change over the last few years and a batting line-up comprising Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook, Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali sending shivers down the spine of any opposition, the home team bowlers will get a chance to test themselves.
It will be a good opportunity for Kuldeep Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to test themselves and it is expected that all bowlers will be taking turns to bowl a few overs.
Similarly, one might find that a top player like skipper Buttler or the talismanic Stokes cooling his heels in order to not give a chance to the Indian bowlers to have a go at them.
The best part about England’s team is its batting depth. Sam Curran at No. 8 and Chris Woakes, who hammered India to hit a Test hundred at the Lord’s coming in at No. 9, surely speaks volumes about the team’s balance.
Kishan vs Iyer debate
In an ideal world, there shouldn’t be any debate if Shreyas Iyer, a fine player of spin bowling in the middle-overs of an ODI innings, should walk into the playing XI, especially with his enviable record in the format.
But since Iyer’s injury break and Ishan Kishan coming into his element, the calculations are a bit different.
Kishan has proved himself at every position in every opportunity that the team has given him. Being a left-hander and the manner in which he goes after the bowling, Kishan does make a compelling case for selection when Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma decide on the playing XI for the opener against Australia in Chennai.
If India go in with Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya, there is not a single left-hander between number one and six and it is only when Ravindra Jadeja walks in at No. 7, there is some variation in the line-up.
With Rahul earmarked to keep wickets and bat at No. 5 on more days unless Hardik Pandya is used as floater, Kishan’s only competitor would be Iyer, who recently showed his class with a century against Australia in Indore.
It is only imperative that both Kishan and Iyer get a decent hit out there in the middle.
Iyer looks favourite to start against Australia but Kishan can’t be ruled out yet.
India squad:Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.
England squad:Jos Buttler (c), Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes.
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