ENG vs IND: Rohit Sharma Reaches Southampton, Plays Trademark Cover Drive in Nets

Indian cricket captain Rohit Sharma has reached Southampton for the series opener against England and started practicing. A video, which is already going viral on social media, shows Rohit batting in full flow as he was seen playing his trademark cover drive through the boundary. This certainly cheered up Indian fans who were desperate to get a glimpse of their favorite star especially since he contracted Covid-19 and had to pull himself out of the playing eleven.
“The @BCCI captain has arrived 👀 @ImRo45 has a net session at The Ageas Bowl, what a player 😍 Let us know if you want to see more of Rohit from the nets!”

Skipper Rohit Sharma, who missed the fifth Test in Birmingham after contracting COVID-19, travelled to the port city on Wednesday and is expected to feature in the series-opener. Unlike Test players including Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant will join the T20 squad from the second game onwards.

Rohit’s presence certainly means curtains for Ruturaj Gaikwad who had to miss out of Ireland series due to a niggle. Deepak Hooda also made his presence felt as he slammed a solid 47 in the first match which was followed by a match-winning century.

Experimentation will go out of the window as India will get down to finalising their best eleven for the World Cup during the three-match T20 series against an ultra-aggressive England, beginning here on Thursday.

Their absence would give fringe players like Ruturaj Gaikwad and Sanju Samson one more game to make a statement though they seem to have fallen in the pecking order in India’s list of probables for the World Cup in Australia.

A niggle meant Gaikwad could not open alongside Ishan Kishan in the two games in Ireland and if Rohit is back, he will have to warm the bench once again.

Kishan has done reasonably well in the chances that he has got and he will look to strengthen his position in the team as a reserve opener with a substantial knock against the mighty England.

With Kohli expected to be back at number three from game two, Deepak Hooda will be aiming for another match-winning effort to keep himself in the mix.

With a century and 47 not out against Ireland, Hooda has certainly made it tougher for the team management to keep him out of the eleven.

The uncapped duo of Rahul Tripathi and Arshdeep Singh have not been included for second and third T20 and it is unlikely they will get a look in on Thursday.

Suryakumar Yadav, who made a comeback from injury against Ireland, could not get going in the games in Malahide and will be backing himself to get back to his innovative best. He and Hooda were amongst the runs in the warm-up against Derbyshire last week.

In the bowling department, pacer Umran Malik will be brimming with confidence after defending 17 runs in the last over of a high-scoring second T20 against Ireland. However, he remains a work in progress and needs to improve on his accuracy.

The pacers including the seasoned Bhuvneshwar Kumar and wily Harshal Patel were stunned by the Irish attack and against a tougher opposition, they will have to be at their best.

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