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Would’ve been 'Super' for India

Updated on: 17 June,2024 07:04 AM IST  |  Florida
R Kaushik |

After washout against Canada, India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour says game time would have served as ideal preparation prior to the next round

Would’ve been 'Super' for India

India captain Rohit Sharma (centre) and teammate Rishabh Pant (left) play football with members of support staff after their match v Canada was delayed due to a wet outfield in Florida on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images

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Would’ve been 'Super' for India

In so many ways, this was a wasted trip for India. Within hours of putting it past United States in New York on Wednesday to seal their Super Eight berth at the T20 World Cup, Rohit Sharma’s men—minus Virat Kohli—left for the airport to board a flight to Fort Lauderdale. Or, at least, that was the plan when they departed the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.

Heavy rains in Fort Lauderdale forced their chartered plane, which also carried the USA team, to West Palm Beach, a 50-mile drive away. Since arriving here and checking into their hotel, India haven’t had a single practice session. Underfoot conditions at the Broward County Stadium, which forced their final Group ‘A’ tie v Canada to be called off before the toss on Saturday, precluded that possibility, which means when the team departs for Bridgetown on Sunday morning, it would have gone four full days without a match or a training session.

Vikram Rathour
Vikram Rathour

India’s last full ‘nets’ was on Monday, two days before the USA game. The day before any match is an optional session; in New York, that was attended by Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and Yashasvi Jaiswal among batters from the 15-man squad, and Kuldeep Yadav. Given how much cricket they have all played in the IPL before leaving for the US, one practice session missed here or there may not count for a great deal, but it’s inevitable that there will be a sense of restlessness, if not anxiety, in the playing group.

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Three games in five days

Once they begin their Super Eights in Bridgetown on Thursday against Afghanistan, India will play three matches in five days in three different islands. This downtime, therefore, might be a godsend though ideally, the Indians would have liked to have hit the park on Wednesday for at least a truncated outing.

“Not ideal,” admitted Vikram Rathour, the batting coach. “It would have been great if we could have gotten a game today [Saturday]. But now this is what it is. We look forward to having a couple of good practice days in Barbados and get into the game. Now the matches will happen simultaneously after one day. As a team, I think we are ready. We are used to these kinds of schedules, we have done it in the past and I am sure we will do it really well this time as well.”

Afghan challenge 

Apart from Afghanistan, India’s Group ‘A’ opponents in the Super Eights will be 2021 champions Australia and new bitter rivals Bangladesh, lending an Asian touch to this particular pool. Afghanistan have been in exceptional form with Fazalhaq Farooqi, the left-arm fast bowler, surprisingly occupying the top spot in the list of leading wicket-takers with 12 sticks at a ridiculous economy of 3.70 (after three outings). Rahmanullah Gurbaz, the dashing opener, is the highest run-getter with 167 runs at a strike-rate of 154.62. The Afghans will begin Thursday’s clash against India on an even footing, their T20 expertise something India need to be wary of.

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