As the Men In Blue gear up to take on Australia on June 9 in the 14th match of World Cup 2019, the Team India's head coach Ravi Shastri can be seen speaking with vice-captain Rohit Sharma in a picture posted on the official handle of Cricket World Cup 2019.
As it seems that the two discusses something important, the photo has been captioned as 'Tips for another hundred', referring to the century smashed by Sharma in the first match of India against South Africa. India won against South Africa by 6-wicket.
India will be up against the reigning World Champions Australia at the Oval on Sunday. The 'Men In Blue' will be charged up after their six-wicket win over South Africa in the opening encounter while Australia will be aiming for a hat-trick of wins. Aussies head into this contest after impressive wins over Afghanistan and West Indies respectively. At the same time, India will be eager to avenge their loss in the 1999 World Cup against the Aussies at the same venue.
When it comes to head-to-head World Cup encounters, Australia is way ahead of India with an 8-3 victory margin in 11 games. Australia had beaten India in the finals of the 2003 edition comprehensively. Meanwhile, India had ended Australia's 12-year long World Cup reign in 2011 to become the eventual champions.
Having struggled in the past one year after suspensions of Steve Smith and David Warner, Australia finally seemed to have picked their pieces and are playing exactly like five-time champions ought to. This will certainly be a cause of worry for India, who lost their ODI series at home during the last bilateral encounter and are still in search of a perfect combination both in batting and bowling.
Skipper Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja also got a grip of Kedar Jadhav's side-arm off-spin and this will certainly force the captain and coach to explore options.With the presence of the two talismans in the opposition ranks, India may have to tweak their playing XI, keeping the Oval pitch and the overcast conditions in mind. They have already served warning signals with a half-century each in their first two games.
Mohammed Shami, who was dropped from the playing XI against South Africa, is likely to make a comeback in the playing XI. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who looked rusty during his first spell against South Africa, was impressive in the second, with a couple of wickets to show for his effort. In case India decides to retain both the wrist spinners and get Shami in the playing XI, then Bhuvneshwar will have to make way. And in case one of the two spinners is dropped, then Chahal, despite his four-wicket-haul might make way for Kuldeep, who has had better success rate against the Australians.
Kuldeep is expected to be more effective because of the bounce and dip that he gets apart from his stock delivery being the one that will leave the left-handers. The other issue could be Kedar's place as his side-arm off-breaks may just not be as effective on an Oval pitch with true bounce, where batsmen can line him up for big hits. In that case, Vijay Shankar, with his wicket-to-wicket seam-up stuff and steady batting, could come into consideration. Kedar have had problems against raw pace and disconcerting bounce, which an in-form Mitchell Starc will dish out in abundance.
The movement off the pitch from back of length has created problems for the left-hander and possibly he will get a couple of more games before Rahul is brought up the order and Shankar slotted at number four.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja
Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey, Adam Zampa, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Jason Behrendorff, Kane Richardson.
(With Inputs from PTI)