Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has shared his insights on the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, slated to take place in West Indies and the USA from June 1. Chopra believes Team India will maintain continuity by fielding an almost identical lineup to the 2022 edition, with Rohit Sharma at the helm. Chopra, in a recent YouTube commentary, highlighted the challenges faced by all-rounder Hardik Pandya due to fitness issues. With Pandya’s return uncertain, Chopra anticipates Rohit Sharma taking charge as the captain, leading the squad through the tournament.

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“Hardik will probably not be the captain because there is an issue regarding fitness. You are not playing currently. You twisted your ankle in the World Cup. You are not playing the Afghanistan series and you don’t play Tests in any case, so you will straightaway play the IPL. It is going against him,” said Aakash.

“I feel Rohit Sharma will be doing T20I captaincy and will also be the captain for the 2024 T20 World Cup. If you had asked this question after the 2022 T20 World Cup, it was almost certain he would not be the captain, considering the way the team performed as we were scoring 60 runs in the first 10 overs,” he added.

Hardik Pandya’s Injury Layoff

Pandya has been sidelined since October 19, nursing an ankle injury sustained during the ICC Cricket World Cup. His absence has led to Suryakumar Yadav and KL Rahul taking charge in T20Is and ODIs, respectively. Recently appointed as Mumbai Indians’ captain, Pandya’s fitness remains a concern for Team India.

Key Players in Top Form

Aakash Chopra emphasized the impressive performances of key players, including Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul, in the ICC Cricket World Cup. Based on their recent form, Chopra predicts the trio will be instrumental in India’s campaign, leading to a lineup similar to the previous edition.

“However, time elapsed and none of these players played T20Is for India. The ODI World Cup happened, where you played very well and reached the final. Rohit Sharma gave explosive starts, Virat Kohli was the Player of the Tournament, and KL Rahul did an amazing job down the order,” said Aakash.

“Suddenly you say that everyone is doing well. So I feel, giving weightage to the recent form, it will be an almost identical team. Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will be there and I would not be surprised if KL Rahul is also there,” he concluded.

Tournament Schedule and India’s Group Stage Matches

The ICC has unveiled the schedule, setting the stage for an intense competition. India finds itself in Group A alongside Ireland, Pakistan, Canada, and the USA. The Men in Blue kick off their campaign against Ireland on June 5, followed by a high-stakes clash against arch-rival Pakistan on June 9. The final two group stage games will be against Canada and the USA on June 12 and June 15, respectively.

Expanded Format and Venues

This year’s T20 World Cup features 20 teams, up from 16 in the 2022 edition. The tournament spans six venues in the West Indies and three in the USA. The top two teams from each group progress to the Super 8 stage, promising an extended and riveting competition.

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