Virat Kohli to skip optional practice session in New York

Virat Kohli for India at the 2023 World Cup
Virat Kohli for India at 2023 World Cup (PC: BCCI/X)

The Rohit Sharma-led Indian cricket team will take on Bangladesh in their only warm-up match of the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on the outskirts of New York on Saturday. It will be the first chance for the Indian players to play at the makeshift stadium at Eisenhower Park on Long Island. The Indian players have been training since they reached New York at the Cantiague Park, about 7 kilometers from the main stadium.

Star Indian batsman Virat Kohli joined the Indian squad on Friday. As expected, Kohli decided to skip the optional practice session, which was attended by only four cricketers – Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Siraj, Rinku Singh and Avesh Khan. Pant, who is all set to make a comeback to the national team after almost 16 months, spent a lot of time ‘keeping’ practicing.

According to reports, the Indian team was not allowed to train at the main venue a day before the warm-up match. Captain Rohit Sharma and Head Coach Rahul Dravid visited the Nassau County International Stadium on Friday afternoon to view the wicket.

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The Indian team had a full-fledged training on Wednesday and Thursday with the emphasis on getting used to the drop-in pitches. There were six drop-in throws at Cantiague Park, which offered plenty of bounce. All the batters had an extended session at the nets, trying to get used to the conditions. Vice-captain Hardik Pandya was seen rolling his arms for almost an hour. Shivam Dube also got a chance to bowl to the nets for captain Rohit Sharma.

There are many expectations from the local Indian diaspora as the warm-up match will be open to spectators. The match will also be streamed live by the host channels. The Men in Blue will kick-start their ICC T20 World Cup 2024 campaign against Ireland, which will be played at the same venue on June 5.

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