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T20 World Cup 2024 | Seventeen Indians will entertain a predominantly Indian crowd

This happens when a country of over five million active cricketers can only field a team of eleven on any given day. This is what happens when good talent slips through the cracks in one country and makes it on its own in another nation.
Last Updated : 11 June 2024, 06:24 IST
Last Updated : 11 June 2024, 06:24 IST

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New York: Before you confuse this with an Indo-American mash-up musical in America, it’s not.

This is India versus the United States of America at ‘THE’ cricket. This is not the Indian Premier League’s Impact Player rule that the International Cricket Council exaggerated.

This happens when a country of over five million active cricketers can only field a team of eleven on any given day. This is what happens when good talent slips through the cracks in one country and makes it on its own in another nation.

That’s because being good does not cut it by Indian standards. Hell, exceptional isn’t enough most times. But, for a country looking to build something, anything to profit off of cricket, Indians of good cricketing pedigree are plenty. Thus, exists the American cricket team.

Moreover, now that the team is second on the Group A table, behind India, there’s no reason for them to think otherwise. That’s the American way: get those who are good onboard for a handsome chunk and win things.

But, all hope and optimism aside, it won’t be an easy day for a bunch of cricketers who have had to take leave of absence from their respective full-time employers to be available for their T20 World Cup contest to put one past one of the most well-oiled modern day cricketing machines.

Rohit Sharma’s India will return to the Nassau County International stadium, the venue of their latest conquest of Pakistan, to give the Indians who didn’t quite make it a lesson in what it takes to make it.

With equal pride and ferocity, those who didn’t make it will want to show those who have that they had it all along but were looked over.

Even as these interesting plot lines swirl, it will come down to who does well on the day because the format allows, maybe even promotes, a level of uncertainty. Isn’t that what unfolded when the US edged out Pakistan a few days ago?

Before we dismiss the whole near-four-hour contest into a Pakistan-bashing exercise, we must be appreciative of America’s grit in all this. They were not supposed to put up a fight, let alone win, against one of the greatest cricketing nations of all time.

Did Pakistan flounder? Sure, but that’s not to say America did not play well.

Should the toss go their way and should they show more resolve than they thought possible, there is no reason they can’t pull off a surprise.

The only problem, however, is that India has seen enough to not sink into complacency. When they say they take every contest seriously, they actually mean it because this is a team, and management, built for the next step.

That they haven’t been able to win an ICC trophy for over a decade isn’t lost on them. This is precisely why they have resorted to elite-level professionalism to get them to promise land. It was one game away a few months ago, it might not be this time around.

See, eventually, skipper Monank Patel (Anand, Gujarat), Saurabh Netravalkar (Mumbai), Nostush Kenjige (Nilgiris/ Bengaluru), Nitish Kumar (Ontario-born Indian), Harmeet Singh (Chandigarh) and Jasdeep Singh (Pnunjab) - all the Indians who are likely to play on Wednesday - will be but opponents to those representing the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

But, as Rohit said not long ago: “The reason they (players in his side) are representing the country out of 1.4 billion is because they are mentally tough. They are different from the rest who are sitting back home. They have everything with them. They are slightly more - I wouldn't say skilled, but it's more to do with how mentally they think about it.”

The Indian skipper isn’t quite dismissing those who didn’t make it. He’s but stating facts. Now, can those at the receiving end of this memo become H1-B(rilliant)? We’ll know soon enough.

Team (likely): United States of America: Steven Taylor, Monank Patel, Andries Gous, Aaron Jones, Corey Anderson, Nitish Kumar, Harmeet Singh, Nosthush Kenjige, Jasdeep Singh, Saurabh Netravalkar, Ali Khan.

India: Rohit Sharma (captain), Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant (wk), Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Arshdeep Singh.

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Published 11 June 2024, 06:24 IST

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