India vs South Africa, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal likely to start in Virat Kohli and Co's opening match

The Ageas Bowl pitch in Southampton is expected to be flat and South African batsmen's weakness against the slow bowlers would make Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal first XI starters in the lung opener.

Press Trust of India, Jun 03, 2019 21:46:52 IST

Southampton: The fickle English weather has left the Indian team fretting over its bowling combination for the World Cup opener against South Africa.

The Ageas Bowl pitch in Southampton is expected to be flat and South African batsmen's weakness against the slow bowlers would make Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal first XI starters in the lung opener.

File image of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Reuters

File image of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal. Reuters

However, a spell of rain on Monday and forecast of cloudy weather and shower on Wednesday has brought Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the equation and the team may thrust three specialist speedsters into action.

In that case, the team will have to leave out either Yadav or Chahal and also decide which all-rounder between Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Shankar to field.

South Africa's record against the two wrist spinners during India's last away tour was below-par with most of them unable to pick them off their wrists.

On that 2018 tour of South Africa, Kuldeep had 17 wickets from six games while Chahal had one less from equal number of matches.

Virat Kohli's propensity to go for the kill is precisely the reason why he would like to prefer attacking options like 'Kul-Cha' as they are fondly known.

Whatever little layer of grass was there has been shaved off and the pitch resembles a typical sub-continental 22-yard strip where a lot of lateral movement can't be expected.

The grounds in England, equipped with superb drainage system, dry out quickly and unless there is persistent rain there is no possibility of underlying moisture, which could then help the ball to jag around even in sunny conditions.

The forecast on Wednesday shows a maximum temperature of 17 degrees with partly cloudy sky and chance of rainfall.

If the choice comes between Kuldeep and Chahal, the left-arm chinaman might get the preference over the wiry Haryana leggie despite former's poor form in recent times.

Ravindra Jadeja had two good warm-up games but he is seen more as a restrictive option, who can be more effective against England or Pakistan.

However the other problem will be the choice between fit-again Kedar Jadhav and Vijay Shankar.

Shankar had two bad warm-up games but that will count for little considering the ability he has shown with the bat.

However Kedar Jadhav's handy off-breaks along with his cheeky batting at No 5 or 6, makes him a better choice while chasing a big score.

But in case, the conditions are overcast, then Shankar could share the fifth bowler's role along with Hardik Pandya with Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep and Chahal taking care of the other 40 overs.

For all the latest news, opinions and analysis from ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, click here

Updated Date: Jun 03, 2019 21:46:52 IST


World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
Australia 5 4 1 0 8
New Zealand 4 3 0 1 7
England 4 3 1 0 6
India 3 2 0 1 5
Sri Lanka 5 1 2 2 4
West Indies 4 1 2 1 3
South Africa 5 1 3 1 3
Bangladesh 4 1 2 1 3
Pakistan 4 1 2 1 3
Afghanistan 4 0 4 0 0





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
6 Pakistan 4107 93
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254