ICC T20 World Cup 2024: Can Rohit Sharma’s India win the World Cup?

An experienced India side will look to leave last year’s heartache behind as they plot their way to T20 World Cup glory.

India's captain Rohit Sharma, right, greet India's Virat Kohli after India won their ICC Men's Cricket World Cup match against England in Lucknow, India, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.(AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will look to take India to another world title [File: Manish Swarup/AP]

Captain: Rohit Sharma
Fixtures: Ireland (June 5), Pakistan (June 9), United States (June 12), Canada (June 15)
Best finish at T20 World Cup: Champions (2007)

India’s heartache of losing the 50-over Cricket World Cup final on home soil and the experience of a “balanced side” could inspire them to T20 World Cup glory in the United States and West Indies, according to Cheteshwar Pujara.

The 36-year-old, who has played 103 Tests and five one-day internationals for India, will have high hopes pinned on the men in blue when they begin their campaign against Ireland on June 5.

“We [India] have enough balance in the team but it won’t be easy because we will be playing in the US and West Indies where pitches are slightly different,” Pujara told Al Jazeera in London.

“The grounds and their sizes are different to what we play in India, but I hope that the guys are ready for that [challenge].”

Pujara believes India have plenty of experience in their ranks, with captain Rohit Sharma having played in all eight editions of the T20 World Cup so far.

“India have the right balance of experience and youth that is needed in the shorter format [of cricket].”

India stormed into the final of last year’s 50-over World Cup with 10 straight wins, only to be handed a shocking loss by Australia.

They will aim for another final but first will be the business of the tournament’s marquee clash against neighbours Pakistan on June 9.

The Indian community on the North American East Coast will have two more opportunities to see their team when they play USA and Canada as well.

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(Al Jazeera)

Pujara picks Suryakumar and Jaiswal to shine

Pujara, who has played the shortest version of the game with several Indian Premier League (IPL) sides up until 2021, believes middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav will play a key role alongside upcoming star Yashasvi Jaiswal.

The 22-year-old Jaiswal has become an important member of the side and will open India’s batting with his captain Rohit.

“Suryakumar plays a key role because he bats in the middle order,” Pujara said.

He warned India against complacency in the Caribbean, where the tournament will shift entirely after the group stage.

“The US and West Indies are venues where you need to be on top of your game because the pitches change as the tournament progresses.”

Jasprit Bumrah will lead India’s pace bowling attack, while their spin options will be led by Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja, whose all-round abilities make him stand out for Pujara.

“Players like Ravindra Jadeja are important because he is an all-rounder – you need spinners who can pick wickets and can bat a bit as well.”

‘One game at a time’

A former mainstay of India’s Test side, Pujara believes India’s backroom staff will have drawn up a “clear game plan and mindset” ahead of the T20 World Cup, especially since they will be looking to undo the hurt of the six months since losing the 50-over World Cup final.

“It [50-over World Cup] will be an inspiration because there were a lot of positives that they can take into the T20 World Cup as well,” he said.

India won the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup in 2007.

The right-handed batter wants India to take it one step at a time all the way until the final in Barbados on June 29.

“Every team wants to win the T20 World Cup but how you do it is by trying to focus on one game at a time.”

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(Al Jazeera)

Three players to watch

Virat Kohli: The India talisman finished on top of the run-scoring charts at the recently concluded IPL. Kohli was the player of the tournament at the 2023 Cricket World Cup. At 35 years of age, the T20 World Cup could mark his last attempt to add another trophy to a glittering career and Kohli is not one to miss too many chances.

Suryakumar Yadav: “Sky” Yadav captained India to victory against Australia in the T20 series late last year. The right-hander has remarkably scored four T20I centuries and boasts a strike rate of 171.

Jasprit Bumrah: Regarded as one of the world’s finest bowlers, Bumrah averages 19 with the ball in T20 internationals with an economy of 6.55. The 30-year-old made his international debut in 2016 and is now the “go-to” bowler when it comes to India’s seam attack.

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(Al Jazeera)
Source: Al Jazeera