India may not have the same balance they had in their first four World Cup games due to Hardik Pandya’s injury but it gives the hosts a chance to experiment with a different combination against New Zealand, coach Rahul Dravid said on Saturday.
All-rounder Pandya, who has taken five wickets in the tournament, will miss Sunday’s game in Dharamshala after injuring his ankle in their seven-wicket win over Bangladesh.
“He is an important all-rounder so he helps us balance our squad out really well. But he is going to be missing this game, so we will have to work around that and see what is the best combination,” Dravid told reporters.
“We’ve got to work with the 14 that we’ve got… 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 used in the first four games.”
Dravid said India were “pretty clear” on their playing 11 for Sunday when they take on table toppers New Zealand but kept his cards close to his chest on the final lineup.
“Hardik being one of those four seamers, we’ll just have to see with the combination we can go with. We certainly can go with the three fast bowlers or the three spinners,” Dravid added.
“With that kind of combination, we still could play him and play Ash (Ravichandran Ashwin) and move (Ravindra) Jadeja up.
“In some cases, there is Ashwin who has obviously been sitting out, who has great quality as well. So there are two or three combinations we could consider till Hardik gets back.”
A key factor in Dharamshala could be the toss with the cold temperatures in the foothills of the Himalayas leading to an earlier onset of dew in the outfield.
“There is nothing to hide in this. We are in Dharamshala, the temperature is cold so there will definitely be dew,” Dravid said.
“But you can’t think much about it. Of course, you can make tactics and strategies according to that, but you have no guarantee that you will win the toss. So you have to plan for both.
“If you have to bowl in dew, then you have to make a few more runs. You have to play positively and give yourself a cushion.”