India is currently the number-two ranked ODI team playing the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in England and Wales. The team, led by Virat Kohli, is being deemed as one of the ‘hot favourites’ to win the coveted trophy this time.
Though India has lost quite a few bilateral series this year, yet many experts and pundits believe that India can go on and absolutely detonate opponents brutally in the tournament.
However, the Men in Blue got a fact check ahead of the start of the tournament as Kane Williamson-led New Zealand defeated them by six wickets in the first warm-up game at the Kennington Oval in London. Nevertheless, Kohli’s men made a strong comeback against Mashrafe Mortaza-led Bangladesh at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, winning the match by 95 runs.
Now, the Indian team supporters will have their eyes glued when the Men in Blue start off their World Cup campaign against Faf du Plessis’ South Africa in Southampton on June 5. A week before the all important encounter, former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman has picked India’s playing XI.
Surprisingly, Laxman went with three spinners – Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal – and only two frontline fast bowlers with Hardik Pandya being the third seam bowling option. Based on the performance in the warm-up games, Laxman picked his team while commentating for the official broadcasters in India – Star Sports.
There was no place for Kedar Jadhav, who was the only player not to get a hit during India’s two warm-up games because of a shoulder injury picked up during the latter stages of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Laxman instead, picked Ravindra Jadeja as his number 7 with Hardik Pandya at No. 6. After a brilliant century against Bangladesh, KL Rahul pretty much booked his place for the No. 4 slot.
The two seamers in Laxman’s side were Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, while there was no place for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who failed to impress in the warm-up games.
There was, however, no surprises in Laxman’s top three with Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli settling in their positions.
VS Laxman’s India XI for South Africa match:
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (c), KL Rahul, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal.