The Indian team received a timely wake-up call in their first 2019 World Cup warm-up game against New Zealand on Saturday. The side suffered a six-wicket defeat, as the batsmen faltered under marginally overcast conditions.
The team management looked to experiment in the game, as was evident on multiple occasions. Hardik Pandya was sent at number five, while Jasprit Bumrah, who conceded only two runs in his first four overs, was never given the ball again in the innings.
However, the results of the experiments were far from satisfactory, and as India go to the game against Bangladesh with significant concerns.
Rohit Sharma’s average against left-arm seamers has been far below 20 since 2017, and the story wasn’t dissimilar when he took on Trent Boult. The Kiwi speedster trapped Rohit on the line of the stumps, and the batsman was simply too late to respond.
Shikhar Dhawan was no better either, as he nicked one for the keeper.
As India travels to Cardiff for the game against Bangladesh, the side needs to focus on tackling left-arm pace as Mustafizur Rahman could also prove tricky in these conditions.
The English weather may have been kind in the bilateral series between the host side and Pakistan, but India’s warm-up game was a gentle reminder of the fact that the conditions are unpredictable.
While India’s squad doesn’t include a left-armer, the presence of Khaleel Ahmed as a net bowler becomes more important than ever for the Indian batsmen.
The number 4 spot has already been a cause of concern for quite some time, and the injury to Vijay Shankar has made the situation trickier as the side heads into the World Cup.
KL Rahul batted at the fourth position against New Zealand, but failed to capitalize on the opportunity, as he let his guard down against Trent Boult.
The team management would hope for Vijay Shankar’s timely recovery for the game against Bangladesh, as it would provide clarity on the position ahead of their opener on June 5.
Switch off the T20 mode:
KL Rahul and Dinesh Karthik will be most disappointed from the first warm-up game. Both came at a time when the priority was to stabilize the innings, but the duo squandered a huge change, thanks to a carelessly lazy display of batting.
While Rahul’s lazy defence led to an inside-edge hitting the wickets, Karthik threw his wicket on a delivery going down-the-leg, as he tried to go for a boundary but timed it a bit too well.
However, both the batsmen may get another chance to prove their mettle against Bangladesh, and this game could be a learning for them.
Jadeja over Kuldeep?
Ravindra Jadeja was a glaring positive from the warm-up game against New Zealand. He may primarily be a bowler throughout his limited-overs career, but it was his performance with the bat which proved to be the saving grace for the side.
Jadeja scored a half-century, and was impressive with his line when he took the ball in the second innings. He also took the wicket of Ross Taylor, who scored 71.
The team management might be inclined towards giving Kuldeep another run against Bangladesh, but the game against New Zealand may have provided a fairer idea on Chahal’s spin-partner for the World Cup.