India head coach Rahul Dravid
India head coach Rahul Dravid Image Credit: REUTERS

Dharamsala: India's head coach Rahul Dravid on Saturday warned of the World Cup becoming such a batting paradise that teams might as well "play two T20 matches" instead.

Hosts India take on fellow unbeaten New Zealand in a battle of the table toppers on Sunday in the Himalayan hill town of Dharamsala.

The 50-over showpiece has witnessed huge scores with South Africa posting a highest-ever World Cup total of 428 on the third day of the tournament.

The 350-plus mark has also been breached on three further occasions.

But India's wins over Australia and Pakistan in Chennai and Ahmedabad came in low-scoring matches and the International Cricket Council rated the two pitches as "average" while the rest as "good" and "very good".

"Sometimes wickets will turn a bit, sometimes they will seam a bit, they will swing a bit, they will bounce a bit," Dravid told reporters, adding that he disagrees with wickets being classed as "good" purely because big scores are being made.

The batting great added: "So, in a tournament, I just want to see variety, no? But the first few games, when it spins a little bit or something happens, it brings the bowlers into the game, you start rating them as average!

"Where does it leave the bowlers? Why are they coming then? If all we want to see is fours - like I said - we have T20, play two T20 matches."

Low spectator turnout in matches not involving India has raised concerns over the 50-over format losing its significance compared to the faster T20 version.

'We are confident'

Turning to Sunday's key clash Dravid said India will have to bring their best to the table to get past a very good New Zealand team.

"A lot of their players have played in the IPL (Indian Premier League), so they're very used to these conditions," said Dravid.

"If you look at their squad, we were going through their squad and obviously doing our strategy meetings, and they do have a lot of experience and depth as well. They are well balanced."

Dravid added: "So, yes, of course, a very good team and playing good cricket as well. So, we know we will have to be at our absolute best...but we are very confident."

New Zealand knocked out India in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup at Manchester. That improved their head-to-head record at the tournament to 5-3.

India will miss all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who twisted his ankle in the previous win over Bangladesh and did not travel with the team to Dharamsala.

Dravid said Pandya's absence will affect the balance of the team.

"Yeah, obviously, he is an important player for us and he is an important all-rounder," said Dravid.

"We will have to see what works best for these conditions and these wickets. But yeah, probably might not have the kind of balance that we probably used in the first four games."