“Rohit will be doing the captaincy….”: Aakash Chopra on India’s 2024 T20 WC squad

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New Delhi [India]: Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra said that he feels that Team India will field an almost identical team to that of the 2022 edition of the tournament for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in West Indies and USA this year, starting from June onwards, with Rohit Sharma as the captain. 

ICC announced the schedule for the competition on Friday. A new chapter will unfold in one of the oldest rivalries in cricket history as India will square off against Pakistan on June 9 in New York. 

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Aakash said that he feels Rohit will be doing the captaincy in the tournament since Hardik Pandya’s fitness is making it difficult for the all-rounder to play currently. 

“Hardik will probably not be the captain because there is an issue regarding fitness. You are not playing currently. You twisted your ankle in the World Cup. You are not playing the Afghanistan series and you don’t play Tests in any case, so you will straightaway play the IPL. It is going against him,” said Aakash. 

“I feel Rohit Sharma will be doing T20I captaincy and will also be the captain for the 2024 T20 World Cup. If you had asked this question after the 2022 T20 World Cup, it was almost certain he would not be the captain, considering the way the team performed as we were scoring 60 runs in the first 10 overs,” he added. 

Hardik has not played any competitive cricket since October 19, when he injured his ankle while bowling during the ICC Cricket World Cup match against Bangladesh. Since then, he has missed the five-match T20I series against Australia and the three-match T20I and ODI series during the tour to South Africa as well.

Suryakumar Yadav led India in all the T20I matches while KL Rahul led the team in ODIs in the absence of Pandya and regular skipper Rohit Sharma, who requested some time off from white-ball cricket after the World Cup final against Australia. 

Hardik was recently appointed as the skipper for Mumbai Indians (MI), replacing Rohit Sharma after he returned to his old franchise following a two-year stint with Gujarat Titans, which also included an IPL title win in the team’s debut season back in 2022. 

Aakash noted that skipper Rohit, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul, who have not played a T20I match since a loss to England in the semifinals of the 2022 edition of the tournament in Australia, did really well in the ICC Cricket World Cup last year and on the basis of their recent form, they will be playing. Hence, India will be fielding a team identical to the first one. 

“However, time elapsed and none of these players played T20Is for India. The ODI World Cup happened, where you played very well and reached the final. Rohit Sharma gave explosive starts, Virat Kohli was the Player of the Tournament, and KL Rahul did an amazing job down the order,” said Aakash. 

“Suddenly you say that everyone is doing well. So I feel, giving weightage to the recent form, it will be an almost identical team. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will be there and I would not be surprised if KL Rahul is also there,” he concluded. 

The tournament will kick off on June 1 and will be co-hosted by the West Indies and the US. India has been placed in Group A alongside Ireland, Pakistan, Canada and the US. 
The Men in Blue will open their campaign against Ireland on June 5. Their second game of the tournament will be against arch-rival Pakistan on June 9. The final two games will be against Canada and USA on June 12 and June 15 respectively. 

This time 20 teams will take part in the T20 World Cup which is more than the 16 that took part in the 2022 tournament in Australia. The top two teams from each group will proceed to the Super 8 stage. 

The 55 games of the competition will be played across six different venues in the West Indies (Kensington Oval, Barbados; Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Trinidad; Providence Stadium, Guyana; Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua; Darren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia; Arnos Vale Stadium, St Vincent) and three venues in the USA (Eisenhower Park, New York; Lauderhill, Florida; and Grand Prairie, Texas). 

The Group Stage will be played from June 1 to June 18. The Super 8 stage will be played from June 19 to June 24. 

The final four stage – semi-finals will be played on June 26 and June 27. The tournament will conclude on June 29. 

Group B consists of the last two winners of the Men’s T20 World Cup in England and Australia, with the pair to take on Namibia, Scotland and Oman. 

The West Indies are placed into Group C alongside New Zealand, Afghanistan, Uganda and Papua New Guinea, while Group D sees South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Netherlands and Nepal fixtured against each other. 

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