Shubman Gill-led Indian team reached Harare for T20 series

The young Indian cricket team, led by captain Shubman Gill and guided by National Cricket Academy (NCA) head VVS Laxman, arrived here for the five-match T20 International series against Zimbabwe starting July 6. In a video posted by Zimbabwe Cricket on ‘X’, the team was seen exiting the airport with their luggage.

The team left from Mumbai on Tuesday while Gill, who has been attached to the T20 World Cup squad as a reserve player in the USA and West Indies, arrived here from New York after a break. “We welcome T20 World Cup champions India,” Zimbabwe Cricket wrote in a post on ‘X’ on Tuesday night. Young top-order batsman Riyan Parag, who made his debut for India during the series, said in a video posted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that it was his childhood dream to travel like this (with the national team).

Parag said, “The experience of wearing the Indian jersey and traveling with the team is different. Coming from Assam, it was my dream to play for India. I am really very happy. When I play my first match, I will have a special bond with Zimbabwe.” He said, “It will be a special moment for that ground and for me, which will be very sacred.” Parag said, “After losing my passport, we have finally reached here after a 20-hour journey. Now I am eagerly waiting for this tour.”

Another newcomer, medium pacer Tushar Deshpande, said being a part of the national team is a dream come true for him and playing for the country is a very special thing. “The most important thing is to travel with the team and get to know them, get to know the team environment and the most important thing for me is the fun that I have while travelling,” Deshpande said. Left-handed batsman Abhishek Sharma said playing for the country was his dream since the day he started playing cricket.

Abhishek said, “I knew that if I kept working hard, I would get a chance but I did not know that I would get a chance outside India in Zimbabwe.” He said, “After my name was announced in the team, I got a call from (captain) Shubman. Everyone gave me a lot of love. It was a big deal for me.” Abhishek said, “When I reached home after my name was announced, I saw my family members giving interviews. So I think that was a moment I will always remember.”

India will play its first match against Zimbabwe, captained by Sikandar Raza, at Harare Cricket Ground on July 6. The remaining four matches will also be played at the same ground. The series will conclude on July 14. Sanju Samson and Yashasvi Jaiswal, who were included in the T20 World Cup team, along with all-rounder Shivam Dubey were to join the team coming to Zimbabwe but they are stuck in Barbados due to storm Beryl. Sai Sudarshan, Jitesh Sharma and Harshit Rana were included in the team on Tuesday in place of the three players included in the Indian team for the first two matches of the series.

Samson, Jaiswal and Dubey will arrive in India on a charter flight on Thursday morning along with other senior players. The players will later be honored by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. Fast bowler Khalil Ahmed and batsman Rinku Singh, who have joined the T20 World Cup team as reserve players, are also currently in Barbados. The BCCI has not announced the replacement for these two, although they are in the team for the Zimbabwe series.

Disclaimer: CricketInFocus has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.

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