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ICC World Cup 2019 – Match 8: South Africa vs India – India Predicted Playing XI

Some tough selections calls to be taken by Team India.

Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

After a week into the World Cup 2019, India will finally mark their entry in the tournament. While a few teams have already played two games, India’s opposition South Africa set to play their third, it has been disappointing not to see the ‘Men in Blue’ take the field yet. But the long wait finally comes to an end as The Ageas Bowl in Southampton sets itself up for a mouth-watering clash.

The last to join the World Cup party this year, Team India surely promises some great entertainment over the next few days. Their squad is well-rounded with some high-quality players. But at the same time, there have also been some injury concerns. It will be a great challenge for the management to pick the final eleven for the opening fixture. Some big names might have to be benched and a few tough calls are to be made.

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Here is the Predicted Playing XI for India

Openers (Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma)

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The trusted pair, Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, will open the innings. Howbeit, the form of these two players heading into the main tournament is a slight concern. Shikhar did well in the IPL while Rohit had an average outing in the tournament. But in the warm-up matches, both of them struggled to score runs.

While Dhawan registered scores of 2 and 1 in the two games, Rohit managed to get 2 and 19. Their struggles against the swinging ball have been quite evident and oppositions will look to exploit this weakness. There are a few technical corrections to be made and both these openers would have worked upon them in the break. Seeing the new ball off will be the key even if it comes at the expense of a very slow start.

Middle Order (Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (wk))

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Virat Kohli made his adjustments to his style of play as soon as he landed in England. He is standing a metre or two in front of the stumps. This has helped him counter the swing factor. However, the way he got out in the practice matches was disappointing. Since he is standing a long distance in front of the wickets, a few deliveries have troubled him. He was out bowled on both the occasions and need to figure out the counterplan soon.

At least for the starters, KL Rahul has secured in place in the opening eleven at the number four spot. He scored a great hundred against Bangladesh and likewise with MS Dhoni. Both these men have adjusted to the English conditions well and showed a lot of intent in the last warm-up game. It is important for this duo to keep the pedal pressed and continue to bring such inspirational performances.

All Rounders (Vijay Shankar, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja)

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya. (Photo Source: Twitter)

There are a few combinations to be considered while picking the all-rounders in the final eleven. Firstly, if Kedar Jadhav is not fit, it is a no-brainer that Vijay Shankar will be in the eleven. That prompts for the need of an additional spinner in the team and Ravindra Jadeja could make the final cut ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal. He also adds a great depth to the batting line-up. The southpaw came to the rescue against New Zealand and played a valuable knock with the bat.

But in case Jadhav gets to play, there are two other cases that arise. If the management wants to strengthen the bowling, Chahal can be picked. But if they think there should be depth in the batting line-up, Jadeja could get into the final team. Although he doesn’t pick as many wickets as Chahal, Jadeja is capable of bowling tight lines and lengths. Though, the leg-spinner did extremely well against South Africa last year and has a good record against this opposition. In either case, Hardik Pandya will make it into the final side. For the first game, Shankar and Jadeja might be selected.

Bowlers (Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah)

Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah. (Photo Source: Twitter)

There is another important decision to be made with the bowling attack. Over the past few weeks, there have been several debates and discussions as to who should play between Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. If the conditions are anywhere near overcast, Kumar will be lethal with his swing and could be picked. But, given his performances in the last few ODIs, Shami is likely to be the first choice to make it into the eleven.

Kuldeep Yadav will be the frontline spinner in the playing eleven. Despite not performing well in the IPL, Kuldeep might have regained his confidence after the performance against Bangladesh. Most of the South African batsmen have troubles picking him and he could use that to his advantage. Jasprit Bumrah will be the other pacer in the side. He is an automatic pick in the eleven with the kind of form that he is in.

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