Rohit says pacers ‘don’t want to rest’, India not thinking of title just yet
India captain Rohit Sharma has confirmed that Hardik Pandya is out of their ICC World Cup match against Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Thursday.
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India and Sri Lanka return to the epic venue of the 2011 World Cup where the Men in Blue won in six-wicket style to win their second 50-over world title. In Thursday’s final, Team India will aim to seal their semi-final berth with a win over their neighbours.
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Meanwhile, Pandya is set to miss the third match in a row due to the ligament tear he suffered in the match against Bangladesh in Pune, meaning India will continue with the test mix -tested with Suryakumar Yadav in the middle. -order and Mohammed Shami in the attack.
“Hardik Pandya is not available for tomorrow’s match. That’s the type of injury we’re monitoring on a daily basis. I hope he will be back soon,” Rohit told reporters on the eve of the match at the Wankhede Stadium.
So India is likely to stick with the XI that won them the matches against New Zealand and England in Dharamsala and Lucknow respectively.
There have been questions about the workload of the fast bowlers being managed during the ongoing campaign but Rohit dismissed any such concerns, saying that they are in “great rhythm” at the moment and are not interested in taking a breather at the moment.
“As far as resting the bowlers is concerned, I think they have a great rhythm at this point of time. They don’t want their rest. (his) body is fine. This is the feedback I have received from all the bowlers. So, they are willing to play games,” Rohit said during the press interaction, which took place on the sidelines of the optional practice session.
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Having said that, the ‘Hitman’ did not completely rule out the possibility of playing the third spinner at the cost of a seamer on Thursday.
“All kinds of combinations are possible. You can still play with three spinners and two seamers if needed. In this World Cup, you have seen that the spinners are the ones stopping that current in the middle overs. I am keeping my options open, whether we have Hardik (Pandya) or not, at this stage to play three spinners or not.
“If the situation calls for us to play three spinners, we will play three spinners. I think spinners with enough skills can put the brakes on the scoring rate in the final. Our spinners have so much skill bowling in these conditions,” Rohit added.
Rohit, who led India in the World Cup with 398 runs in six matches, did not want to take all the credit for the team’s success, instead saying that everyone was playing their part.
“It’s not my thought process (that India is enjoying a dream run), it’s the team’s thought process that the boys stick to. When things look good, everything looks good, everything works well,” he said.
“I know how this whole thing works. I know a lot about one game here and there, I suddenly know that I will be a bad captain. I know how it works. I try to do what is necessary from the team’s point of view and be sure of that,” he said.
India’s unbeaten run in the World Cup so far has raised hopes that it could go all the way to the title, but Rohit said the team was focusing on one game at a time.
“No, we’re not thinking of going that far, honestly. We just want to win every game. I have said this so many times, that every game we play is important for us,” he said.
“How do we do well in that, what things did we not do in the last game, how can we do in this game. Our focus is on that. And after that, we move our vehicle forward. It will not be right for us to think about the future, that we have to go unbeaten, and stay unbeaten. I don’t think that’s the goal. The goal is to play every game and play it well,” he said.
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Rohit admitted that the legion of fans had expectations but said it was “nice that people expect a lot from us”.
“I’m sure all 15 of us (in the squad) when you’re traveling in India, whether you’re playing games or not, there’s people at the airport, on the flight next to you, or wherever you travel, they. There will be talk about your game. ‘We want a hundred. We want to see you take five wickets. We want to see you win games, tournaments, leagues, and all that,” he said.
“I’m sure all these things are in the ears of the players from the beginning. I don’t think it’s pressure, but it’s nice that people expect a lot from us. And a nice way to respond is what we know how,” said Rohit, praising the final prize in the tournament.
“But at the moment, we’re enjoying the cricket we’re playing and we want to continue doing that as long as possible and as deeply as possible,” he said.
The Indian captain said that the Wankhede Stadium is not only a batting paradise but the pitch also has something for the bowlers.
“This is why things can be predictable at times, because there is so much in it for the bowlers as well,” he said. “You probably see a great innings coming from the bowlers, ripping the opposition, that can happen,” he said.
“As you say, it’s a high score, but at the same time, if the bowlers put the ball in the right places, it can be a bit difficult. So, everyone gets value here, the bowlers, spinners as well, and the batsmen,” said Rohit.
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India have won all six matches so far, including a 100-run win against England in Lucknow on Sunday, and a win on Thursday should only confirm their place in the semi-finals.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, are eyeing an early flight back home after their seven-wicket win over Afghanistan in Pune, and will not only need to win all three of their remaining matches but hope I also have other results coming their way.
With inputs from PTI
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