Ahmedabad: India’s star opener Shubman Gill has recovered from dengue and is set to play against arch-rivals Pakistan in a high-voltage ODI World Cup 2023 match at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Saturday. India’s captain Rohit Sharma confirmed Gill’s availability for selection in the pre-match press conference on Friday.
Gill, who is the leading run-scorer in ODI cricket this year, had missed India’s first two matches against Australia and Afghanistan due to the viral infection. He was undergoing treatment in Chennai and joined the team in Ahmedabad only on Thursday. He practiced in the nets for about an hour on Thursday and had a full training session on Friday.
“99 percent Shubman Gill is available for selection against Pakistan tomorrow. He is feeling much better and has passed all the fitness tests. He is a very important player for us and we are happy to have him back,” Rohit said.
Gill has been in sensational form in ODI cricket this year, scoring 1230 runs at an average of 72.35 and strike rate of 105.03. He has hit two centuries and eight fifties, including two tons and two half-centuries in his last four ODI matches. He also scored a brilliant 97 against England in the final ICC Champions Trophy 2022, which India won by eight wickets.
Gill’s return will boost India’s batting line-up, which has already been firing on all cylinders. India won their first two matches against Australia and Afghanistan by 10 wickets and nine wickets, respectively, easily chasing down the targets. Rohit, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, and Hardik Pandya have all been among the runs. At the same time, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, and Kuldeep Yadav have been impressive with the ball.
India will face Pakistan in a must-win match for both teams, as they are tied on four points each after two matches. Pakistan beat New Zealand by six wickets and lost to England by seven wickets in their first two matches. Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam said that his team is ready for the challenge and will play with passion and aggression.
“We know that India-Pakistan matches are always special and there is a lot of pressure and expectations from both sides. But we are not thinking about that. We are focusing on our game plan and our strengths. We have a balanced team with experienced players like Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, and Shaheen Afridi, as well as some young talents like Abdullah Shafiq, Saud Shakeel, Usama Mir and Mohammad Wasim. We will play with passion and aggression and try to win the match,” Babar said.
The match between India and Pakistan is expected to be a blockbuster affair, as both teams have a rich history of rivalry and drama. The last time they met in an ODI World Cup was in 2019 when India thrashed Pakistan by 89 runs (DLS method) at Old Trafford. India has never lost to Pakistan in an ODI World Cup, winning all seven matches so far.
The match will start at 1:30 pm IST on Saturday and will be telecast live on Star Sports network and streamed online on the Hotstar app. The match will also be available on radio commentary on All India Radio (AIR) and Prasar Bharati Sports YouTube channel.
The teams of India and Pakistan for the ODI World Cup are as follows:
India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafiq, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Aga, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim.