Team India captain Rohit Sharma at a training session in Mumbai. (Photo: AP)
Team India are eyeing a seventh successive win when they take on 1996 World Cup champions Sri Lanka in match no. 33 of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday. India are the only team with an unbeaten record in the World Cup 2023 so far, having won six matches on the trot but have slipped to second spot on the Points Table on Wednesday with South Africa rising to the top after their dominant 190 runs win over New Zealand in Pune.
Rohit Sharma’s side will be missing the services of all-rounder Hardik Pandya once again, who had twisted his ankle in the clash against Bangladesh in Pune last month and has been out of action since then.
“His procedure after the injury is very positive. Whatever procedure he had to undergo after the injury, and the NCA, there were a lot of positive things. Right now, he is not available for tomorrow’s match. But it is an injury that we have to see every day how much percent he has improved, how much recovery has been made, how much bowling has been done, how much batting has been done. So, on a day-to-day basis, we would like to take a call. Because we are watching for the World Cup, so obviously, the matches are taking place every 3 – 4 days. We are watching the situation daily. So, it’s possible, as he is progressing, it’s possible, hopefully, we’ll get a chance to see him as soon as possible. That’s all I can say for now,” Indian captain Rohit Sharma said in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
With Pandya out, India have been served well with the return of Mohammad Shami in place of Shardul Thakur. Shami has picked up 9 wickets in the last two games but Mohammed Siraj has been struggling for form so far.
It will be interesting to see if India opt to play Ravichandran Ashwin to bolster their batting in place of Siraj, who had picked up six wickets in the Asia Cup 2023 final against Sri Lanka recently.
“All sorts of combination is possible. You can still play with three spinners and two seamers if need be. I think in this tournament, in this World Cup, you’ve seen spinners actually are the ones who are stopping that run flow in the middle overs. I am keeping my options open whether we have Hardik or not at this point in time to play three spinners or not. If the situation demands for us to play three spinners, we will play three spinners. Because I feel spinners actually with a lot of skill set can put a break on the scoring rate in the middle overs if our spinners have got so much skill bowling in these conditions. So definitely a possible option for us,” Rohit said about playing 3 spinners.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, could consider bringing back left-arm spinner Dunith Wellalage – who picked up five wickets against India in the Asia Cup 2023 match, including wickets of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli – in place of Dhananjaya de Silva.
— BCCI (@BCCI) November 1, 2023
India vs Sri Lanka ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Predicted Playing 11
India: Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj/Ravichandran Ashwin
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis (c, wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Angelo Mathews, Dinuth Wellalage/Dhananjaya de Silva, Kasun Rajitha, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka, Dushmantha Chameera