India Vs South Africa ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 Predicted Playing 11: KL Rahul Appointed New Vice-Captain As Indians To Go Unchanged, Tabraiz Shamsi May Replace Gerald Coetzee Team India captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid at a training session in Eden Gardens in Kolkata. (Photo: ANI)

The Indian cricket team received a big blog with all-rounder Hardik Pandya officially ruled out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 on the eve of their eighth match in the top-of-the-table clash against South Africa at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Sunday. While Pandya has been replaced by Prasidh Krishna in the 15-member squad, Team India may look to go in with an unchanged squad for the clash.

Wicketkeeper KL Rahul is now the new vice-captain of the team with Pandya ruled out, which was confirmed by head coach Rahul Dravid as well. India have won the last three matches in the absence of Pandya and have stuck to the same Playing 11 with Mohammad Shami and Suryakumar Yadav replacing Pandya and Shardul Thakur. Shami has been in excellent form with 14 wickets in 3 matches so far, including two five-wicket hauls while Suryakumar Yadav looked in impressive touch while scoring 49 against England in Lucknow.

However, India’s batting depth and bowling options have been compromised by this decision but head coach Rahul Dravid isn’t worried as India have booked their berth in the semifinal stage already with seven successive wins. India are the only team with an unbeaten record in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 with South Africa also losing one match against the Netherlands.

“I think it’s a pretty obvious thought process. After Hardik has been injured, which he has been for the last two or three games, and then obviously didn’t play a couple of the games in the Australia series as well. We have played with a combination which has been three fast bowlers and two spinners. And yeah, in our reserves, in the guys sitting outside in the 15, we had a backup for the spin. We had a backup for the spin, we had a backup for the batting, and we had a backup in the bowling all around the category. So, we did recognize that if this is a combination we’re going to take, and if there is an issue of an illness, or a small niggle, or an injury, then we need to have a backup for that,” Dravid explained the through process behind replacing Pandya with Krishna in the pre-match press conference in Kolkata.

“It also allows us to play other combinations. It doesn’t mean that we can’t play other combinations. But if this is the one combination that which we have gone with recently, then yeah, that is the one area which we possibly hadn’t backed up with the injury to Hardik Pandya,” he added.

Dravid added that batter Virat Kohli could be called upon to roll his arm over as well if there is the need. “The fact is that we will not be in a position to have a proper sixth option. We do have the option to call upon our wrong-footed, in-swinging menace (Virat Kohli). And with the crowd behind him, I’d back him for a couple of overs there in a few wickets. The crowd was demanding his bowling in the last game. We came very close to giving him an over. And then we’ve got Surya who can turn his arm over a little bit. And then Rohit’s bowled a bit as well,” Dravid said.

South Africa, on the other hand, have the option of replacing pacer Gerald Coetzee with chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi. But he South African spinner doesn’t have a great record in India, having claimed only five wickets in six matches.

India Vs South Africa 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

South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Marco Jansen, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi/Gerald Coetzee

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