• Thursday, July 25, 2024

CRICKET

Hectic schedule not an excuse: Rohit Sharma ahead of India’s Super 8 battles

The Men in Blue will play Afghanistan on June 20, Bangladesh on June 22 and Australia on June 24 in the Super Eight stage.

India captain Rohit Sharma and other cricketers ahead of a match at T20 World Cup in the USA. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA will kick off their campaign in the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup 2024 on Thursday (20) when they take on Afghanistan in the first match of Group 1 at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown. The Men in Blue will be playing three matches in five days but captain Rohit Sharma said there was no time to show it as an excuse.

India will be playing Bangladesh in their second match at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound on Saturday (22) while their third game will be against Australia at Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Gros Islet on Monday (24).

This will be the first time that India will be playing in the West Indies in this edition of the World Cup. All their games so far have been played in the US.

The top two teams from the group will advance to the semi-finals.

Read: West Indies annihilate Afghanistan after Nicholas Pooran narrowly misses a ton

India have won three out of four matches they have played in the group stage in the World Cup while the game against Canada in Lauderhill was rained out. Rohit Sharma’s men defeated Ireland by eight wickets; Pakistan by six runs and the US by seven wickets. The co-hosts joined the Indians as the second team in the Super Eight from the group.

Read: Bangladesh beat Nepal; Lanka crush Dutch

It would not be easy for the India cricketers from here on, especially with challenging opponents and the fatigue of playing cricket continuously for some time now. The cricketers played a gruelling two-month-long Indian Premier League before the World Cup. However, India, looking for an International Cricket Council crown in over a decade, are viewing these factors as a good opportunity to make the semi-finals.

“There is real keenness in the group to go and do something special. So that’s a good way to start our second stage in the tournament. Clearly shows that everybody wants to make a difference, and obviously, we take our skill sessions quite seriously. There is something to achieve in every session. Once we play our first game, we are playing the next 2 games in a span of 3-4 days. It’s going to be a little hectic, but again, we are used to all of this. We travel a lot, we play a lot. So that’s never going to be an excuse,” Sharma, who has played in every T20 World Cup since its inception in 2007 and also perhaps playing his final edition, said ahead of the Afghanistan tie, the Hindustan Times reported.

The Indian team had an intense practice session on Monday after reaching Barbados.

“We will look to focus a lot more on our skills and what we need to do as a team rather than all of this. Every session then becomes really important and to make the best use of it. We have seen a lot of games here, played a lot of games here so everyone understands what one needs to do to get the result in our favour. Everyone’s looking forward and quite excited at the same time,” Sharma added, according to the report.

India made the semi-finals of the previous T20 World Cup in 2022 but were beaten by eventual champions England by 10 wickets.

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