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India star Shubman Gill a doubt for World Cup opener after falling sick

Young star opener who may have contracted dengue was a leading run scorer in ODIs played this year

Sakshi Gupta
Saturday 07 October 2023 09:07 BST
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Gill, 24, missed team training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium
Gill, 24, missed team training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

India may have to play without Shubman Gill in their first game of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 as the star opener is reportedly suffering from a fever that could be dengue.

Gill, 24, missed team training sessions on Wednesday and Thursday at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium, the venue for India’s campaign opener against Australia this weekend.

While it is still not confirmed if Gill will miss the blockbuster match-up set to be held with the Australian side on Sunday, the Indian team management is closely monitoring his progress.

A decision on his availability will be taken after another round of tests on Friday, as per Indian media reports. Team India is hoping Gill has nothing more than a flu.

“He is under the weather. The medical team is closely monitoring him. We are hoping he gets better soon,” said an official update from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), according to ESPNcricinfo.

Other news reports claimed Gill tested positive for dengue, but the exact nature of his condition is not yet known.

India would hope to have the young opener back in time for their upcoming match with Australia as he has been in fantastic form.

Gill was rested for the third and final game of the recently concluded bilateral series against Australia, having scored 74 and 104 in the first two One-Day Internationals (ODI).

His absence in India’s playing XI will certainly be a setback for this year’s World Cup hosts, considering the young batter’s current form.

Shubman Gill celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) during the second one-day international (ODI) cricket match between India and Australia at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on 24 September (AFP via Getty Images)

After the series against Australia, India had two warm-up games lined up ahead of the World Cup.

However, rain played spoilsport in both Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram cities, with play being cancelled without a ball being bowled. India have thus become the only side to have entered the mega 10-team event without a practice game on their back.

In case Gill does not recover in time for the Australia match on Sunday, India will either go with Ishan Kishan or KL Rahul as captain Rohit Sharma’s opening partner.

Kishan is more likely to get the go-ahead as he has three half-centuries in five ODIs as an opener this year, along with an impressive 82-run stint against Pakistan from No 5 in the Asia Cup.

Gill has been the leading run-scorer in the 50-over format in 2023, with 1,230 runs at an average of 72.35 and a strike rate of 105.03.

In his last four ODIs, he registered two centuries and a half-century, with two of those knocks against Australia.

The 2023 Cricket World Cup began on Thursday with New Zealand beating defending champions England by nine wickets.

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