Rahul Dravid has provided a comprehensive update on the availability of players in the Indian squad for their upcoming World Cup warm-up match against England. This update comes on the heels of India’s final ODI match against Australia, which saw them face a 66-run defeat due to a middle-order collapse, primarily caused by Glenn Maxwell’s part-time off-spin.
Despite this loss, India had already secured a 2-0 lead in the ODI series against Australia before the final game in Rajkot. During the chase of a challenging target of 353 on a flat pitch, India seemed to be on track at 171/2. Captain Rohit Sharma (81) and Virat Kohli (56 off 61 balls) had both returned for the match and scored half-centuries, setting the stage for a strong middle-order performance.
However, the rest of the batting lineup struggled, allowing Australia to gain the upper hand. What compounded India’s challenges in the final ODI were the numerous player absences due to viral infections and personal reasons. Players like Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur, and Mohammed Shami were unavailable, and Ishan Kishan was ruled out on the day of the match due to illness.
Axar Patel had also been sidelined due to an injury sustained during the Asia Cup earlier in the month. With the World Cup on the horizon, the absence of key players was far from an ideal situation. However, Rahul Dravid, the head coach of the Indian cricket team, assured fans and stakeholders that a ‘full-strength’ side should be ready ahead of India’s opening warm-up match against England later in the week.
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Rahul Dravid addressed the absences, mentioning, “We have had a few issues with a viral infection going around the group. It was a bit of a balancing act, especially because a few guys had to go home due to personal reasons.”
He explained that some players had to leave for the Asian Games, further complicating the team’s composition.
However, Dravid remained optimistic, stating, “I’m hoping we have got about a week. I expect everyone to be there in Guwahati when we reach tomorrow, latest by tomorrow night or the morning the next day, we should be full strength. The bug around the group should’ve cleared up as well. Be nice if that happens.”
India’s World Cup campaign is set to begin on October 8th when they face Australia at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Before that, they have warm-up matches against England on September 30 and the Netherlands on October 3.
The hope is that with players returning to full fitness and availability, India can field a competitive team as they aim for success in the upcoming World Cup.