Chennai: India captain Rohit Sharma said the team is going to give opener Shubman Gill every chance to recover from an illness ahead of their 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup opening match against Australia at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday, adding that the right-hander is not yet ruled out of the high-octane clash.
Gill didn’t attend India’s practice session at the stadium ever since the side touched down in Chennai and it emerged on Friday that the right-handed batter is under the weather possibly due to high fever.
“Everybody is fit, but Gill is not a hundred percent. He’s sick, but there is no injury concern. He’s not feeling well, we are monitoring him on a daily basis. We are going to give him every chance to recover and see how he feels as he’s not ruled out,” said Rohit in the pre-match press conference.
Gill has been a vital cog in the wheel for India at the top, and currently leads run-scoring chart in ODIs this year, by amassing 1230 runs in 20 games at an average of 72.35 and strike rate of 105.03.
“I feel for him, and in terms of being a human first, I want him to get well. Not thinking as the captain that I want Gill to play; I want him to get well as no one likes being sick. But I want him to get well. He’s a young guy, got a fit body and he will recover quick,” added Rohit.
If Gill is unable to play Sunday’s match against Australia, then Ishan Kishan, who hit three consecutive half-centuries in the ODI series against the West Indies as an opening batter in July, emerges as an option to partner with captain Rohit Sharma at the top.
Another option is wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul, who has been more of a middle-order mainstay for India in the format. India head coach Rahul Dravid had said in a press conference on Friday that the medical team will take a call over Gill’s participation on match day, while also hinting at a decision being taken at the last minute.
India is eyeing to claim a third Men’s ODI World Cup title after clinching the trophy in 1983 and 2011. The 13th edition of the tournament sees India being the sole hosts of this event after being co-hosts on three previous occasions in 1987, 1996 and 2011.
“The mood is pretty good as it is before the start of every big tournament. We have come into this tournament prepared really well. So, quite confident about us skill-wise and are looking forward to the game,” concluded Rohit.