Shubman Gill-led Indian team touches down in Harare for T20Is against Zimbabwe

by IANS |

Shubman Gill-led Indian team touches down in Harare for T20Is against Zimbabwe Harare, July 3 (IANS) A youthful Indian team, led by Shubman Gill and having VVS Laxman, the National Cricket Academy (NCA) head of cricket as the coach touched down at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport ahead of the five-match T20I series against Zimbabwe starting on July 6. In a video posted by Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) on X, the Indian team is seen making its way to arriving at the airport in Harare. While the entire India squad departed from Mumbai on Tuesday for arriving in Harare, Gill arrived from New York, where he was taking a break after being a traveling reserve in India’s Group A stage matches in the USA for the T20 World Cup. "We welcome T20 World Cup champions India," wrote ZC on late Wednesday night in its post on 'X'. In a video posted by the BCCI on their social media handles, left-handed opener Abhishek Sharma, who earned his maiden India call-up, said about his feelings of traveling with the Indian team for the first time. “From the day I started playing cricket, I had only one dream, which was to play for the country. I know if I continue working hard, I will get an opportunity to enter the team. But I didn't know I will get it outside India in Zimbabwe. I got a call from (skipper) Shubman after my name was announced in the squad. "Everyone has been giving me so much of affection since my name came in India squad, which in itself is a very big thing for me. When I reached home after the squad announcement, I saw my family members giving interviews, and that’s was one moment I will always remember," he said. Young batting all-rounder Riyan Parag said he’s really forwarding to the tour after initially misplacing two of his mobile phones and passport in excitement. "The feel of donning India jersey, travelling with the side is different and I wanted to experience it, which I am getting to do now.” "Coming from Assam, I had this dream of playing for India. Really happy. There will be a special connection for Zimbabwe when I play my first match. That will be a special moment for that ground and myself, which would be very sacred. Its almost a new Indian team, but a lot of old faces as I have played with them for so long now." India’s five-match T20I tour of Zimbabwe is happening from July 6-14 at the Harare Sports Club. This will be the fourth time Zimbabwe will host India in a bilateral men’s T20I series, having previously faced off in 2010, 2015 and 2016 respectively. On Monday, BCCI announced B Sai Sudharsan, Jitesh Sharma and Harshit Rana were included in the Indian squad for the first two games in place of Sanju Samson, Shivam Dube and Yashasvi Jaiswal, who will be returning home with the victorious T20 World Cup winning side. Rinku Singh and Khaleel Ahmed, the two traveling reserves in the Caribbean, are likely to link up with the team in Harare, though their travel plan as of now is not clear yet. India's squad for first two T20Is against Zimbabwe: Shubman Gill (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Abhishek Sharma, Rinku Singh, Dhruv Jurel (wk), Riyan Parag, Washington Sundar, Ravi Bishnoi, Avesh Khan, Khaleel Ahmed, Mukesh Kumar, Tushar Deshpande, Sai Sudharsan, Jitesh Sharma (wk) and Harshit Rana --IANS nr/bc

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