Cricket-World Cup
Indian skipper Virat Kohli and head coach Ravi Shastri deep in thought at Nottingham. Image Credit: AFP

Nottingham: India and New Zealand, the two undefeated teams in this tournament, will be facing at this beautiful venue of Trent Bridge in their league game - casting a wary eye on the skies.

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Chances of a full match is unlikely under the present circumstance as it’s still drizzling and the pitch is covered. Answering to a query from Gulf News on whether weather is a distraction and how will the team be approaching this match, Sanjay Bangar, the assistant coach of the Indian team said: “When you come to England, you expect these things. You know you’re bound to get a few days where the weather is going to play but from our point of view, it’s not only happened to us. So far, we’ve been lucky that we haven’t had a game affected by the weather. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.”

K.R. Nayar/Gulf News

When New Zealand’s star batsman Ross Taylor was asked whether he is ready for a rain-shortened match and whether he has the right combination for it, he said: “We’ll have to wait and see tomorrow. Everyone will be prepared to play. There’s a full 15 to choose from. I guess we can’t look too far ahead, but there are obviously different permutations, different balance of squad if the weather does play a part, whether it’s a reduced game or a 50-over game.

K.R. Nayar/Gulf News

Indian team, too, will have to get the combination right in the light of injury to Shikhar Dhawan with Lokesh Rahul to open the Indian innings with Rohit Sharma. “KL(Rahul) moves up at the top of the order and there are various options the team management can utilize going into the next game. Obviously, Vijay Shankar is going to be an option, and there are a couple of others as well,” said Bangar.

K.R. Nayar/Gulf News

Taylor believes that luck will play a huge role in this tournament though England is a great place to play cricket. “I said at the start of the tournament that luck is going to play a part. England is a beautiful place but it’s not famous for good weather. In saying that, there’s still a long way to go in this tournament. I’m sure there’s going to be rained out games that could have freaked us along the way. We found that in Taunton, and there has been times where forecasts have been wrong as well. Hopefully tomorrow is one.”

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (L) and Rohit Sharma attend a nets training session at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. Image Credit: AFP

With the outfield slippery, the Indian team decided not to risk making their bowlers train hard but Bangar assured that his bowlers are in rhythm. “Our bowlers are in a good rhythm, and you don’t really want to risk bowlers in conditions where it’s not really firm. So you’d rather protect the bowlers rather than bowling them on nets where in the outfield it is slippery,” he said.

K.R. Nayar/Gulf News

Taylor at the same time is hoping that Indian spinners are not on rhythm. “We’ve faced India a lot in recent times and had some success against them. Obviously, they have two world class spinners on their day. We’ll have to wait and see what the wicket produces tomorrow. Some shorter boundaries and sometimes that can play in the minds of the spinner, not necessarily - one might spin a little bit more defensive.”

Meanwhile, Rishab Pant will fly in from Delhi to Manchester as a cover for injured Shikhar Dhwawan.

Rishabh Pant
Rishab Pant

Bangar remarked: “He (Pant) bats in the middle order and obviously, being a left-hander helps. He was named in the stand-by the team management has gone and picked him.”

He also confirmed that Dhawan will be out of action for at least 10 to 12 days. “Shikhar will definitely be missed in the next three to four games, but we have a great back-up for each position. So with that, we should be able to make it up.”

Catch the match: India vs New Zealand
Trent Bridge, 1.30 pm startLive telecast on OSN Cricket