Ind vs Eng – 1st T20I – Southampton

Rohit Sharma found India’s defeat in the Edgbaston test “very hard to watch from the sidelines” but is now excited at the prospect of just “staying nice and healthy” after a brush with Covid-19 .

Rohit, the only addition to the Indian squad to tour Ireland, will lead the T20I series opener in Southampton on Thursday. After training for three consecutive days in Birmingham, he joined the rest of the group on Thursday afternoon.

“It was very difficult to watch from the sidelines, it’s never an easy situation when you miss games, especially an important game like the one where the series was on the line for us,” said Rohit after training at Ageas Bowl .

“I had a bit of trouble for a few days, but I’m happy to be back on my feet in good health as I look forward to this T20 series, followed by the ODI series. It’s always nice to come back and playing back, that’s the most important thing. I’m excited to be on the pitch and hanging out with the guys.”

It’s been over a week since Rohit tested positive, but the wait to return to training lasted longer than the mandatory five days of isolation. Having returned three Covid negative tests, Rohit is feeling “fit and fine”.

“My recovery has been good,” he said. “It’s been eight-nine days since I tested positive. We’ve seen how every player has reacted differently to Covid. I’m not sure what will happen, but for now I’m fit and fine.

“I resumed training three days ago, that’s why I decided to play in this game, because I feel better physically. There are no symptoms now. I sent back two to three negative tests. forward to the game, it will be an exciting one.”

Rohit’s first act upon arrival was to catch up with interim coach VVS Laxman, who oversaw the team in Ireland and during the two warm-ups in England leading up to the series. The chat was aimed at understanding where each player is located.

“I just wanted to understand what was happening with the team all along,” he said. “Today is the first day I join the team. They have traveled to Ireland; they also played a few friendlies. I just tried to understand what kind of mentality the guys are in, how the preparation has been for each individual. It was just about catching up on things that I wasn’t part of. Of course it’s always nice to understand what’s going on within the team.”

Rohit said that while India will keep an eye on their World Cup preparation, winning was equally a big part of their thought process. And every game was about “ticking boxes”.

“Naturally [we are] definitely keep an eye on the World Cup,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s preparation. Every game for India is important to us. We want to come here and try to tick every box we have and make sure we get the job done, it’s that simple.

“Of course there are a lot of younger players who will have the opportunity to represent the country through their performances from their state teams, IPL teams. They deserve their chance. England is going to be a very challenging team for us, I’m pretty sure that these guys have been here for a while. They went to Ireland; they played a few friendlies here. Now we’re looking forward to this T20 series and then the ODI series.”

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