India preview against New Zealand, 2019 World Cup: Shikhar Dhawan injury, the time challenge for India
NOTTINGHAM: the Indian team's alternative strategy in the absence of an injured player Shikhar Dhawan A strong attack from New Zealand will put him through a tough test, ready to ask some probing questions if the weather does not play sport at his World Cup match here on Thursday.
The contest, which could be restricted due to inclement weather, will have a quality Black Caps seam attack ready to make life difficult for a new opening pair that probably presents KL Rahul at the top next to Rohit Sharma.
Dhawan has been excluded from at least the next three games due to a broken hairline in his left thumb.
New Zealand has had a good record against India in world events. The men of Kane Williamson would be more than determined to win four in a trot and maintain their privileged position.
Dhawan unwittingly forced Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri to seek a tactic of rejection despite convincing results in the first two games against South Africa and Australia.
If being forced to play with a successful opening combination that has scored 4681 runs is a bit unsettling, there is also a positive side to the Dhawan injury saga.
It has given India the opportunity to test how good its Plan B is.
Rahul's probable elevation at the top will undoubtedly lead Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik to the image as far as number 4 is concerned.
Shankar's general abilities face the experience of Karthik.
The thick cloud cover and humidity conditions could also include Mohammed Shami in the equation at the expense of one of the wrist bands.
In case both Shankar and Karthik find a place in the XI, then Kedar Khadhav will be the one to be lost.
The situation demands technical knowledge from Captain Kohli and more from coach Ravi Shastri, known to be a shrewd tactical operator.
It could not have been a more ideal time for a reunion, since the tournament is still in its second week and on Thursday it offers one of the best good batting tracks at the same time.
This might not be the best of circumstances to open the batting, but the talented Rahul will be determined to make this opportunity count.
Dealing with adversity separates men from boys and if Rahul is able to successfully execute a test opening spell of Trent Boult, he could do wonders for his confidence in the next set of games.
He would have a great point of reference in the dynamic Rohit Sharma, who will be at the other end of the 22 yards.
The way in which Rohit has transformed his game according to the conditions has been more than commendable.
For a player with a compulsive punch like Rohit, eluding his ego and letting the power games run with minimal risk, is something that Rahul can learn.
He has paid dividends for the vice captain of India and has one hundred and fifty to show his efforts in the first two games.
The duo will face Boult, who is expected to bring the ball to the right-handers.
He gave trouble to the Indian batting in the warm-up game in the oval, but that game happened when the team had just landed on English soil.
It's been almost two and a half weeks, and Boult does not have too much swing in the tournament, although his bowling style does not depend on conditions.
But Boult would not complain if he receives any help from the conditions covered.
Lockie Ferguson, the man at 150 kilometers per hour from New Zealand, is also pleased that the Trent Bridge track promises to provide a bounce that Western Indians exploited against Pakistan and Australia.
The Western Indians have shown that there is an additional rebound available at Trent Bridge and that can cause problems. I'm waiting for the challenge because I like Trent Bridge as a terrain, said Ferguson, making clear what he has in mind.
India : Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (week) Hardik Pandya , Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Shikhar Dhawan.
New Zealand : Kane Williamson (captain), Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Colin of Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor Tom Blundell (week).
The match starts at 3pm (IST).