Rohit warns India have 'work to do' ahead of mouthwatering England T20 series

By Sports Desk March 11, 2021

Rohit Sharma feels India have "a lot of work to do" before they challenge for T20 World Cup glory as they prepare to face top-ranked England in a mouthwatering five-match series.

India are on a high after beating England 3-1 to secure a place in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

A strong England squad led by Eoin Morgan will be looking for revenge at the Narendra Modi Stadium, but face a huge test against an India side who have won six and drawn one of their previous seven series in the shortest format.

India sit second in the rankings and are eager to make a statement seven months before the T20 World Cup begins on home soil.

Vice-captain Rohit knows they are not the finished article ahead of the first match in Ahmedabad on Friday, with Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tewatia in line to make their debuts.

The in-form batsman said: "It's nice for the fans also to look forward to something because it's not every second year you are playing the World Cup, otherwise the charm of the World Cup goes away.

"The freshness of the World Cup remains and it's going to be an exciting World Cup as it is being played in India. We are all looking forward to that but before that, we still have a lot of work to do."

England, who whitewashed South Africa 3-0 late last year, have not lost a T20 series since they were beaten by India in 2018.

 

Malan is the man

There will be an array of outstanding batsmen on show in what should be a pulsating series and it is Dawid Malan who comes into it as the best in the world in this format.

The left-hander was named man of the series in a whitewash of the Proteas, making a magnificent 99 not out in the final match at Newlands on the back of another half-century.

England have an embarrassment of riches in the batting department, with the likes of Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Sam Billings in the squad.

Liam Livingstone will also get the opportunity to make his mark after some explosive knocks for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League.

Kohli closing in on historic landmark, Pant returns

India captain Virat Kohli needs only 72 more runs to become the first man to reach the 3,000 mark in T20Is.

The prolific skipper averages 50.5 for his country in the shortest format and has more runs than anyone in matches between these two nations (346).

England will also need to remove Rishabh Pant before he gets into full flow, as the wicketkeeper-batsman demonstrated when he made a scintillating century in the final Test.

Pant, who has not played a T20 for India since January 2020, averages just 20.50 at international level in this format but that figure will surely be on the rise before long.

Key Opta Facts

- Kohli has dropped more catches than any other fielder from a Test-playing nation in men's T20Is since the start of 2019 (seven), three of which were rated as easy chances.

- Malan has the highest batting average of any man to log 10 or more T20I innings (53.4 from 19 knocks). Her has reached 50 in seven of his 12 overseas knocks.

- KL Rahul recorded 670 runs from his 14 knocks in the 2020 IPL. He comes into this series having scored more runs in men's T20Is than anyone else since November 2019 (643).

- Yuzvendra Chahal is responsible for the best figures ever recorded against England in a men's T20I (6/25 in February 2017). The spinner is the leading wicket-taker in this fixture (nine), but has only claimed 15 scalps at an average of just 42.1 since the start of 2019.

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    The Caribbean team, who are the defending champions, was routed by England in the first match where they lost by six wickets after being bowled out for 55.  In the second encounter against South Africa, on Tuesday. after a promising start the team was dismissed for a subpar 143, which the Proteas easily chased down to win by 8 wickets.

    The loss leave the West Indies rooted at the bottom of the six-team table, with a net run rate of -2.550.  With only the top two teams set to advance to the final four, the Windies are already facing an uphill battle to move on to the next round.  

    “Well, we just have to do what it takes,” a dejected Pollard said following the team’s loss to South Africa.

    “We have to dig deeper as a team. We have to dig deeper as a batting unit,” he added.

    “We have to get wins on the board now. We’ve put ourselves in a position whereas from a run rate perspective that’s pretty low, and from a win percentage we haven’t won any games.

    “So we have to win the next three games. We just have to take it one at a time and try to improve each and every time.”

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    West Indies captain Kieron Pollard did not speculate on Quinton de Kock's refusal to take the knee, but suggested education is a major issue when it comes to the gesture.

    South Africa were without their talismanic wicketkeeper-batsman for Tuesday's T20 World Cup match, which they still won despite De Kock's absence.

    The Cricket South Africa (CSA) board on Monday decided that all players must take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

    De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture and opted not to play against the Windies at Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday following the demand from CSA.

    Proteas captain Temba Bavuma said South Africa players were "taken aback" by De Kock's decision, with the batsman unsure whether the former skipper will play any further part in the World Cup.

    Asked about the incident following the Windies' eight-wicket defeat, Bavuma's opposite number Pollard told reporters: "Me personally, I don't know of any player who didn't want to take it. I'm not aware of that.

    "So this is sort of news to us or to me. But you know, you guys know our thoughts on this matter. It's something that we feel strongly about as a team and as a people, as well, and we will continue to do it.

    "Each and everyone has their own opinions on it, but as I've always said, once you're educated, and you understand, we will understand you doing it, but I think education sort of is the key, and we don't want anyone doing it for us in solitude or to feel sorry for us.

    "I'm not aware of which individual you speak about, but I'm guessing afterwards someone will increase my knowledge capacity on what actually transpired."

    Pollard was then informed it was De Kock who had withdrawn his participation in the game and was asked if he believes conversations should be held with the South Africa star to educate him on the issue.

    "Again, I can't speak on something that I don't know," Pollard replied. "I guess you guys know more than me.

    "If I sit here, I'm going to speculate as to what actually transpired in all honesty. Again, if it's an educational thing, I guess then there's persons are wrong to educate.

    "I don't think it's my job at this present time to educate. I think I have a lot more on my plate in terms of leading our team, and we're in a position where we need to win cricket games. I don't think that's my forte at the minute."

    Pollard hit three boundaries, including a six, in a knock of 26 from 20 deliveries against South Africa, as well as going for nine off the only over he bowled as holders the Windies slumped to a second defeat of the Super 12 after their capitulation against England.

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