India’s chance to test itself

Williamson’s Kiwis provide ideal sounding board for Kohli & Co.

Armed with pedigree, personnel and form, favourite India will look to hit the ground running when it faces New Zealand in its opening warm-up game of the World Cup here on Saturday.

However, with India yet to clear the haze over the No. 4 position, the match will be more than the ritual of allowing one top-order batsman after another a hit in the middle. The outing at the Kennington Oval will go beyond experimenting with its highly skilled bowling attack, and quite a bit of focus will be on K.L. Rahul, a contender for the No. 4 slot.

In Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan as openers followed by Virat Kohli, India has one of the finest top three in the world.

Adding depth

Veteran M.S. Dhoni, all-rounder Kedar Jadhav and the big-hitting Hardik Pandya provide depth. Opponents will be keen to observe the Indian seamers’ ability to exploit the conditions.

Jasprit Bumrah, the top-ranked ODI bowler in the world, leads the pace battery alongside Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik.

KulCha influential

Wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal add variety to India’s attack, and Kohli sees them playing an influential role in the coming weeks. The seasoned Ross Taylor, one of the finest limited-overs batsmen in recent years, said it was good that New Zealand was playing India in the practice game.

Live telecast on Star Sports 1 & Select 1 (SD & HD) from 3 p.m. IST.

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