Support Scroll.in Your support is crucial: India needs independent media and independent media needs you.
India’s Shubman Gill is “99 percent available to play” against Pakistan in the World Cup blockbuster showdown after the opener recovered from dengue fever, captain Rohit Sharma said on Friday.
Gill missed the team’s opening two victories but is likely to take the field at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
Rohit did not reveal the team for the hotly-anticipated contest and when pressed about Gill’s participation, the captain said, “we will see tomorrow”.
Gill, 24, had a practice session on Thursday after he flew into the western Indian city from Chennai where he had been hospitalised and missed India’s win over Australia.
The batter picked up the dengue infection ahead of the tournament and did not travel with the team for the second match in New Delhi where India beat Afghanistan.
Ishan Kishan replaced Gill and filled the opening slot in both the matches, making nought and 47.
India played three spinners in their opening match before bringing in fast bowler Shardul Thakur for Ravichandran Ashwin against Afghanistan.
Rohit said it will be horses for courses in the big match and players have been informed about any changes.
“Depending on what kind of conditions we play, if there is a change or two we need to make, we will be ready with that and guys have been informed in advance about these kind of changes,” said Rohit.
“So I don’t think there’s going to be any issues for the players. But if the requirement is there for us to play three spinners, we will play three spinners.”
Babar Azam’s Pakistan also come into the contest at the 132,000-seater Narendra Modi Stadium with two wins from two games.
Rohit Sharma said the team has momentum after they won the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and then beat Australia in a three-match series.
“Rhythm is very important. If you look at it in other terms, it is called momentum,” Rohit told reporters on the eve of the hotly-anticipated match.
“We have played seven or eight matches in India and before that in Sri Lanka and here too we played two matches of the World Cup.”
He added: “The bowlers have shown very good performances. Whether it is spinners or seamers, whenever they have got a chance to put pressure on the batsmen, they have done so. All the batsmen have scored runs.”
Tournament favourites India beat Australia by six wickets and then hammered Afghanistan by eight wickets riding on Rohit’s record seventh World Cup century on Wednesday.
India also enjoy an unbeaten record against Pakistan in seven World Cup meetings but Rohit doesn’t read too much into it.
“I am not a person who looks into all those kind of stats. We’ve got to play good cricket on that particular day to win the game and that is what we will be focusing on,” said Rohit.
“And how we are going to play good cricket, which is understanding the conditions, what is required from the team’s perspective and things like that.”
With Pakistan fans still awaiting visas to travel to India, the huge stadium is expecting a capacity home crowd for the key contest.
Rohit, who had earlier spoken about shutting out the outside noise for the big game, said the team’s focus remains on playing a quality opposition.
“Like I said many times before, in the context of it, yes, it’s a massive game. But for us, what is important is, we are playing an opposition tomorrow, which will be quality,” he said.
“So, we’ve just got to come against a quality opposition and play good cricket, which we’ve done in the last two games. And hopefully we can again show some consistency in our performance.”
India crushed Pakistan by 228 runs in the Asia Cup Super Four contest – their last ODI meeting – in Colombo last month.
But Rohit said there will be no “psychological advantage” against a side who have also won their first two matches in the World Cup.
“As I said, we should not pay too much attention to what is already over, he said.
“We should pay attention to the fresh day, the fresh opposition. Both the teams will start evenly. I don’t think there is a favourite or an underdog.”