India go into the World Cup as favourites and one of the main reasons why they have this tag is their well-rounded bowling attack. Virat Kohli has plenty of attacking options as far as his bowlers are concerned and this gives the captain a lot of confidence.
Former Australian bowler and multiple World Cup winner Glenn McGrath believes that India's pace ace Jasprit Bumrah will play a huge role in shaping India's journey at the marquee event. He also cautioned that India should not chop and change too much and always stick to their strengths.
"If a combination works, I see no reason to change that. Bumrah will be the key to India's success. He needs to bowl well in the powerplay and at the death. The runs you save in the powerplay really matters," McGrath said.
'Middle overs are important'
"Bumrah needs to be accurate, mix his slower ones up nicely. His short deliveries must catch batsmen by surprise, as he did in IPL. Middle overs are very important. This is where many teams let the opposition off the hook. Hardik Pandya's role here will be important," he further added.
Much of India's success in ODIs over the years has been because of the consistency of their top order and the Australian legend believes that it should continue even in the tournament. However, according to him, they can only be successful if they are willing to adapt and adjust to conditions and then dig in for the long haul.
"As we saw in the last few days, 300-plus is the norm. So India's top order — Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli — must click. They need to be patient and judicious in shot selection to put runs on the board. It depends upon how they adapt," McGrath further added.
For India, the form of the openers is a concern as both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan have not looked anywhere close to their best in the two warm-up games. Although captain Virat Kohli did not sound too concerned with his openers, India need them to stand up and be counted on the day when it matters the most.
Also, the pitch at Southampton has always been a flat one that produces high-scores, a factor that could force India to go in with Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the third seamer. There could be a toss up between Ravindra Jadeja and Kedar Jadhav as the second all-rounder in the side after Hardik Pandya.