Shubman Gill 99% available for India-Pakistan game: Rohit Sharma

Ahmedabad, Oct 13: India captain Rohit Sharma said opener Shubman Gill is 99% available for the high-octane clash against Pakistan at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Saturday. Due to illness, Gill had missed India’s victories in matches against Australia and Afghanistan. The right-handed opener, who also needed hospitalization in Chennai as a precautionary measure, arrived in Ahmedabad ahead of the team’s arrival, and batted in the nets on Thursday to assess his preparedness for Saturday’s clash.

“99% he is available. We’ll see tomorrow,” said Rohit in the pre-match press conference. If Gill manages to make it to India’s playing eleven on Saturday, then Ishan Kishan, who opened the innings in his absence, will have to sit out. Gill has been a vital cog in the wheel in India’s ODI scheme of things for over a year and a half. He is the current leading run-getter in the format this year, amassing 1230 runs at an average of 72.35 and a strike rate of 105.03, including hitting two centuries and as many fifties in his last four ODI games. Talking about the game against Pakistan, Rohit felt dew will not be a major factor in Saturday’s clash. Interestingly Pakistan skipper Babar Azam did say that dew was spotted by his teams in their days of practicing at the stadium.

“Honestly, I don’t know how much of a factor it is going to be, because in Delhi, we were expecting dew to come in, but it didn’t come. Chennai also, it was after probably 30 overs. So, you are done with 75% of the game by then.” “So, I don’t think toss is going to play a massive factor. It is what the team is comfortable doing, whether it is chasing, posting a total, whatever that is. Whatever the team is comfortable doing, we try and do that.” With both India’s batting and bowling department in good form in its victories, Rohit firmly believes the momentum and rhythm is with the side. “Of course, rhythm is very important. If you look at it in other terms, it is called momentum. We have played 7 or 8 matches in India and before that in Sri Lanka and here too we played 2 matches of the World Cup.”

“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. There were a few matches where we were put under pressure. Like Australia made 350 runs in Rajkot, we were put under pressure.” “So, there are matches where you learn a lot of things. Our bowlers also learnt a lot from that game, what we did well and what we did not do well. Which we scored 350 runs. We talk about those things, like how to improve in that. In batting, I will say that all the batsmen have scored runs in the last 8 or 9 games we played.”

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“From the top to the eighth position, all the batsmen have made runs. All in all, I think it’s all about the rhythm. All the players are in a good rhythm and it is always nice to go into any World Cup game with that kind of rhythm and that confidence. So, I think, the momentum and rhythm that we are talking about, I think all the boys have it.”

Rohit signed off by saying that home advantage cannot become a disadvantageous factor. “I don’t think there is any disadvantage. You feel nice about playing in front of your home crowd. They get behind you no matter what the situation of the game is. My overall experience playing, not just in India, even outside India, we get massive support.” “So far, I have never experienced where the crowd has gone against us. So, I look at this as a good and big advantage. But we know that eventually, it boils down to playing good cricket. Whatever it takes to win the game, you’ve got to do that. So yes, you can use the support, but eventually, you’ve got to play good cricket to win the game.”

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