ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Indians train hard for Afghanistan clash

Omkar Paranjape
Friday, 21 June 2019

Having won three out of their 4 matches so far, India will be taking on strugglers Afghanistan on Saturday at The Rose Bowl in Southampton. And, going by the intensity shown by the players in the practice session, the Men In Blue looked focussed and determined to chalk up another two points.

London: Team India is making hay while the sun shines.

Having won three out of their 4 matches so far, India will be taking on strugglers Afghanistan on Saturday at The Rose Bowl in Southampton. And, going by the intensity shown by the players in the practice session, the Men In Blue looked focussed and determined to chalk up another two points.

Since the team arrived in England a month ago, training sessions have been hard to come by much to the frustration of the players and coaches. After an initial no-show, dark clouds and wet weather followed the Indian team to Nottingham and Manchester.

Whilst the game in Nottingham against New Zealand was washed out, India beat Pakistan in Manchester, albeit in a rain-curtailed game.

Whole last week the team could drill through just a solitary training session in Manchester and on Thursday, they made most of it with an intense fielding session. 

All eyes on Shami
All the others had the full-tilt session, beginning with fielding drills followed by a hit in the nets. Mohammed Shami, who is set to take the new ball following the injury to Bhuvneshwar, bowled a long spell too.

The other notable aspect was skipper Virat Kohli trying a bit of off-spin at the nets but the batsmen facing him had no problems dispatching the friendly tweaks.
With no off-spinner in the squad and Kedar Jadhav hardly bowled with his dodgy hamstrings, it seemed like it was more about Indian captain providing a bit of knocking for the other batsmen.

Shami, who will come in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar against Afghanistan, bowled in the nets as well, with bowling coach Bharat Arun keeping close tab on him.

Shami is in fine form of late and will get his deserved chance on Saturday. Without upsetting the bowling strength much, the late-order can be strengthened by the inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja and the ideal option to accommodate Jadeja is to leave out Kedar Jadhav. However, that would weaken the batting substantially.

Update on Bhuvi
After losing Shikhar Dhawan for the rest of the tournament, the Indian camp is keenly awaiting a fitness update on their strike bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar. India team’s strength and conditioning coach Shankar Basu has confirmed that the update on Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s current fitness will be known shortly.

The lead Indian pacer suffered a hamstring injury while bowling against Pakistan.

With the latest reports coming in, Bhuvneshwar is expected to be fit against England.

He was ruled out for the rest of the Pakistan match after bowling only 2.4 overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was in fine form in the ongoing World Cup. Although, he is not entirely ruled out, he will be sidelined for a considerable amount of time.

The 29-year-old has taken five wickets in this World Cup. He is a crucial bowler for India both in the opening spell and at the death. The injury came at the wrong time as Bhuvneshwar was just getting better.

Vijay Shankar injured
Just as the Indian team were recovering from the blow of Shikhar Dhawan’s injury, they had a major scare as all-rounder Vijay Shankar suffered a blow to toes during the team’s net session at Rose Bowl, Southampton on Thursday.

Shankar was facing India’s pack leader Jasprit Bumrah who bowled a yorker at Shankar’s feet. Thus, the right-hander was seen in pain and had to walk back to the dressing room.

Shankar had made his World Cup debut in the previous match against Pakistan. In fact, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder had struck with his first delivery as he had plumbed Imam-ul-Haq in front of the wickets.

It is believed that Shankar’s injury is not a serious one and it is reported that he should be fine for the match against Afghanistan.

The handy all-rounder chipped in with 15 runs, and two crucial wickets including that of captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, in India’s 89-run victory over arch-rivals Pakistan.

As has been the case since his debut against Australia in January, Shankar is used as a floater in India’s middle-order. 

Cloudy weather in Southampton
If weather forecasts are to be believed, the conditions will remain mostly sunny on Saturday. Although the weather is expected to turn cloudy, there is no hint of rainfall. The temperature is expected to be between 20 degrees Celsius to 13 degrees Celsius.

According to the weather reports, it is unlikely that rain will play any part during India’s clash with Afghanistan. 

The news will come as a relief for the cricket fans as they will get to enjoy a full 100-over match in a rain-affected tournament.

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