T20 World Cup 2024 | India takes flight to the Caribbean after a stellar show in the Land of Opportunity

A game against Canada would’ve been ideal for the side to get some match practice; Kohli’s form will be crucial in the Super 8 stage

Updated - June 16, 2024 11:27 pm IST

Published - June 16, 2024 11:26 pm IST - Lauderhill

Rallying his troops: Rohit knows that India’s real test lies ahead.

Rallying his troops: Rohit knows that India’s real test lies ahead. | Photo Credit: DEEPAK KR

India did exceptionally well to successfully navigate a tricky Group-A campaign in the United States of America.

The opener against Ireland went along expected lines. The big one against Pakistan saw India use clever tact — promoting Axar Patel up the order, bringing Jasprit Bumrah back into the attack when Pakistan started to get comfortable — to negate the disadvantage of batting first on a dicey New York pitch.

Rohit Sharma’s men had to dig their heels in to overcome a gritty USA. A wash out in the last match here, however, left the side unhappy.

The Central Broward Park & Broward County Stadium here should have witnessed at least a shortened game between India and Canada on Saturday. The sun was out, rain stayed away, and yet the outfield was unfit for play.

India was denied match practice which could have been useful ahead of the Super 8 stage in the West Indies. For Virat Kohli — who has made only five runs in three outings — a good knock against Canada would have given a sense of relief and confidence.

India batting coach Vikram Rathour expressed his disappointment at not getting play.

“We were really looking forward to playing a game here, especially as we were expecting better batting conditions than what we got in New York. It was important for us to get a game, but this is something that we cannot control,” Rathour said.

The ground was not fully covered when it rained — a lapse which led to the wet outfield. Asked if this was acceptable practice at a World Cup, Rathour said: “This question should be asked to the ICC. I won’t be able to answer.

“I don’t know the reason why it was not covered, and why they didn’t have enough covers for the whole ground. If they would have covered it fully, it definitely would have helped.”

Kohli’s poor form is another concern that must be addressed. The batter went hard at deliveries and tried to force the pace on an up-and-down New York surface, when it would have been more prudent to play late and close to the body.

Kohli will believe that his timing will return in the West Indies, where pitches will not be as seamer-friendly. Rathour stated that Kohli is now hungrier than ever to get it right.

“We have no concern at all (about Kohli’s form). He had been batting superbly in the earlier tournament (IPL 2024). A couple of dismissals here doesn’t change anything.

“Actually, it is good that he is a little hungrier. He is really keen to do well, and really switched on. It’s a good space to be as a batter.”

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