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Posted at: May 25, 2019, 8:10 AM; last updated: May 25, 2019, 8:10 AM (IST)

India get down to business

Kohli & Co. face New Zealand in first warm-up game in London; Shankar injury scare during training

London, May 24

Armed with pedigree, personnel and form, favourites India will look to hit the ground running when they face New Zealand in their opening warm-up game of the World Cup here tomorrow.

However, with India yet to clear the haze of confusion over the No. 4 position, it will be much more than a ritual of allowing one top-order batsman after another — behemoths in their own right — a hit in the middle. The outing at the Kennigton Oval will go beyond experimenting with their highly skilled bowling attack, and quite a bit of focus will be on KL Rahul and Vijay Shankar, contenders for the No. 4 slot. Dubbed the most challenging World Cup ever owing to a format that is a throwback to the 1992 edition, Virat Kohli’s team still arrived at the United Kingdom confident of adding to its two titles in the ICC’s showpiece event. India won the tournament in 1983 and 2011.

Kohli’s men, second behind England in the ODI rankings, will start the tournament among the favourites alongside the host nation and defending champions Australia. They begin their campaign in tournament proper against South Africa in Southampton on June 5, but India will get their first feel of the mega event in the iconic British capital.

Kohli has expressed confidence in his side’s ability to live up to the billing, while his counterpart Kane Williamson also expressed how pleased he was to have the squad back together, with New Zealand having last played an ODI on February 19 against Bangladesh. 

Latham to miss warm up game vs India

New Zealand wicketkeeper Tom Latham will miss the team’s warm-up matches, owing to a finger injury, and will be replaced by uncapped Tom Blundell, captain Kane Williamson said. 

With the World Cup just around the corner, New Zealand have been forced to deal with injury concerns. “Tom won’t be available for the first two warm-up games,” Williamson said. New Zealand are slated to clash with India on Saturday before taking on West Indies on May 28 in run up to tournament-proper. The 27-year-old Latham had picked up a finger injury during the final warm-up match against Australia before flying to the UK for the World Cup.

However, if the left-hand batsman will be available for the New Zealand’s opening match against Sri Lanka on June 1, is still unclear. — PTI  

Vijay Shankar takes a hit on forearm

London: All-rounder Vijay Shankar suffered an injury scare after being hit in the forearm which forced him to leave India's training session midway at the Oval ground. The Tamil Nadu all-rounder was hit in the forearm while attempting to pull a short ball from left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed. Shankar looked in considerable pain and left the nets immediately. "Shankar was taken for precautionary scans and a call on his participation in Saturday's warm-up game against New Zealand will be taken after the reports are out. It may come Friday evening or Saturday morning," a BCCI source said. With Kedar Jadhav's left shoulder injury already keeping the team management on tenterhooks, Shankar's injury, if it turns out to be serious, will certainly give Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri sleepless nights.  — Agencies

No player under corruption cloud: ICC ACU 

London: None of the cricketers set to compete in the World Cup is under suspicion of any corrupt practice, claimed ICC’s top Anti-Corruption official Alex Marshall, who expects the “safest” tournament in the history of the global meet. For the first time ever, all the 10 teams competing over the next six weeks in England and Wales will have their own dedicated anti-corruption manager travelling with them. “Over the last 18 months, we have charged 14 or 15 people. None of those are current players. The people we have charged are administrators, senior administrators, board members, coaches, ex-players and an analyst. These are people on the edge of the squad, not people currently among the player group,” confirmed ICC GM (ACU) Marshall during a media conference on Friday. He is confident that the corruptors will not be able to breach the protective layers around the players. — PTI

I would unsettle Bumrah by rotating strike, says Lara 

New Delhi: Legendary batsman Brian Lara says that for Jasprit Bumrah, he would not opt for the counter-attacking game. Rather, he would try and unsettle the pacer by continuously rotating the strike. “First of all, if I was facing him, I would look to get off the strike," Lara said with a laugh. "I would maybe try to apply pressure on him by rotating the strike. In ODI cricket, you have the option of picking up a lot more singles than in T20s. In the past, you have seen that when batsmen looked to go after guys like Muttiah Muralitharan or Sunil Narine, it is very difficult and Bumrah has that sort of an effect. I would encourage batsmen to try to get six singles from his over and then maybe you can look at other areas to get runs from. I don’t believe counter-attacking against such a good bowler is a great idea.”

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