The prevalent overcast conditions in Southampton may force the Indian team management to opt for an extra seamer against South Africa in the opening World Cup game on Wednesday, indicated skipper Virat Kohli.
While chances of Bhuvneshwar Kumar's inclusion in the playing XI look brighter by the minute, Kohli gave an open-ended reply to the various questions on possible team combinations.
There are indications that Mohammed Shami may make way for Bhuvneshwar but there was no confirmation in that regard. In that case, Vijay Shankar will pip Kedar Jadhav to share the third seamer's duties with Hardik Pandya.
"We know it is a different situation in England when there is a cloud cover and when the sun is out. With two new balls, if the pitch has something to offer, then an extra seamer comes into the play big time. But even on a good pitch, on a batting-friendly pitch with two new balls, I foresee the first 10 overs to be challenging if there is cloud cover," Kohli said, dropping a broad hint on Bhuvneshwar's possible inclusion.
While Bhuvneshwar is a capable batsman but seamer-friendly conditions may prompt India to drop a spinner in case a fully fit Jadhav is included.
"I think it will definitely be challenging, starting at 10.30 am in the morning for the batsmen and that is something that we have discussed and we have recognized how to go about it, what are the plans heading into being a bit more solid in that particular phase," said the skipper without divulging much.
"And from the bowling point of view as well, even if you play with two spinners, two seamers or three seamers, they are going to be in the game in the first half if you start at 10.30 am. The dynamics will change from morning to afternoon and the bowlers will have to adapt very quickly to that," he said.
"Kedar is batting in the nets now and he is hitting the ball well, so it is always nice to have him back in the mix because of the variety he brings into the side. Looking at the pitch, we will have discussions over what the balanced combination will be, but I think we are equipped to handle all kinds of conditions here," Kohli signed off.