'Don't really consider Hardik...': Rohit Sharma drops Ashwin hint for AUS WC tie | Cricket - Hindustan Times

'Don't really consider Hardik...': Rohit Sharma drops Ashwin hint, lays down playing XI blueprint for Australia WC tie

By, New Delhi
Oct 08, 2023 08:29 AM IST

Rohit Sharma opened up about India's playing XI for the World Cup opener against Australia in Chennai.

Indian skipper Rohit Sharma is well aware of the options Team India possesses to furnish a title-winning playing XI at the grandest stage of them all - the ICC World Cup. Rejected from India's World Cup-winning squad when the Asian giants last hosted the 50-over spectacle, the veteran Indian opener has returned for his third One Day International (ODI) showpiece event as the leader of the Men In Blue.

India's head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma during a practice session ahead of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match against Australia (ANI)
India's head coach Rahul Dravid and captain Rohit Sharma during a practice session ahead of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023 match against Australia (ANI)

On Sunday, Rohit and Co. will launch India's title bid for a third ODI World Cup crown by crossing swords with Australia at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Speaking to reporters on the eve of India's World Cup opener against the five-time champions, Rohit clarified that in-form Shubman Gill is not ruled out of match No.5 between the two heavyweights.

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ALSO READ: 'Gill not 100 per cent but…': Rohit Sharma refuses to rule out Shubman from IND vs AUS clash at World Cup

‘India can afford to play 3 spinners’

Answering several buzzing questions, the Indian captain said that the Rahul Dravid-coached side is open to unleashing Ravichandran Ashwin at the Chepauk. Giving all-rounder Hardik Pandya a special mention, Rohit admitted that India can afford to play three spinners against Australia. “Yeah, I mean that’s the luxury we have where we can afford to play three spinners because I don't really consider Hardik Pandya as just a seamer. He (Hardik) is a proper fast bowler, who can crank up good speed. So, that gives us an advantage. That gives us that luxury of playing three spinners and three seamers as well. So, there's a possibility of that,” Rohit said in the pre-match press conference.

What's at stake for Men In Blue

India have arrived in Chennai for its World Cup opener after both of their World Cup warmup games were washed out without a ball being bowled in Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati. Under Rohit's leadership, Team India is hoping to become the first-ever side to win the ICC World Cup as a host consecutively. The Men In Blue last won the ODI World Cup back in 2011. Interestingly, Rohit also hinted that India will hardly make any major changes to its playing XI throughout their World Cup campaign.

Rohit offers India's playing XI blueprint

“We definitely want to be a team where we want to play the best 11, but you can pick your best 11 based on the conditions that you have in front of you. Where there is a bit of assistance to the slower bowlers, you need to bring in those slower bowlers. So, your core of the team will remain the same. Your 8, 9, 10 players will remain the same. There will be one or two changes here and there, which you've got to be ready to accept and take it into your stride and move forward,” Rohit added.

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