Well-known Indian cricketer Sourav Ganguly shed light on all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s absence in the lead-up to the World Cup clash with England and India. Ganguly believes that Rohit Sharma’s Team India is still the favorite in their important challenge with England on Sunday.
Host India is aiming to enjoy its successful run against England in match No. 29 of the ICC World Cup being held at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium. For the unversed, Rohit and Co. remain the only unbeaten team in the present edition of the ICC World Cup 2023.
Unfortunately, all-rounder Pandya had hurt his ankle while bowling his first over against Bangladesh and has been missing from India’s important clash with New Zealand last week. Rohit’s assistant is also unreachable for the high-voltage World Cup meeting between India and England at Lucknow. So, will the country miss the sportsmanship skills of all-rounder Pandya?
“He is an important player but India are still a very strong side,” Ganguly shared with the news agency PTI at Eden Gardens. In the absence of all-rounder Pandya, India replaced his absence with pacer Mohammed Shami to its playing XI against New Zealand. Shami’s match-winning five-wicket haul supported India to its first win over the Black Caps in ICC events since the 2003 World Cup.
Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Ganguly also shared about England’s poor showing at the World Cup in India. “Never thought England would play like that but that’s what sports is all about. India is a strong side and is doing well. But championship is too far, first they have to get past the knockout stage,” Ganguly said.
Sadly, Hardik Pandya won’t be able to be a part of the match against England today as he is still recovering from his ankle injury. The 30-year-old suffered the injury during the 2023 World Cup clash against Bangladesh last week. He was fielding off his own bowling during followthrough and was able to bowl only three balls in that game. Pandya walked off the field after the happening and has not returned to the playground ever since.
The team management thus, had set up two changes in their playing XI in the earlier match against New Zealand in the absence of Pandya. They brought in a specialist batter in Suryakumar Yadav and a frontline bowler in Mohammed Shami. Bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur was relegated to the bench for the contest.
India’s playing XI for today’s World Cup match:
Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
England’s playing XI for today’s World Cup match:
Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (c/wk), Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
As of the time of publishing this article, England needs 185 from 222 deliveries to win in today’s match.