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India’s batting-depth can make huge difference in Super 8, says Robin Singh

Robin Singh, the former India all-rounder, believes the Rohit Sharma-led side is in pretty good form ahead of starting their 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup Super Eight campaign against Afghanistan at Barbados on Thursday night, adding that their long batting line-up could prove to make a huge difference.

India enter the Super Eights after topping Group A as the lone unbeaten team from the matches held in USA. India have met Afghanistan eight times in men’s T20Is since 2010 and have never lost to them in the format.

“I think it’s a really important game from many standpoints because the first game in a Super 8 that India is playing becomes very critical. Then you need to win by pretty sizeable margins if you can. But I guess the first most important thing is to win. I think Afghanistan, they have played reasonably good cricket.”

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“They have a really good spin bowling attack which is something they will use. Probably the venue is something that may not suit them as much as the other venues that they have played on. But in saying that, probably India has been in pretty good form. I mean, they have won all the games. They have a pretty good all-round bowling team as well as a long batting line-up. So, that should make a huge difference,” said Robin in an exclusive conversation with Media.

India will also be up against Bangladesh and Australia in their quest to be the top two teams from Group 1 and enter the semi-finals. “No, I think every game is important. In T20, anybody can win. We have seen so far in the World Cup, they have won a lot of upsets by weaker teams. But I guess the wickets had a big say in that, right? To be frank, the wickets were not great.”

“So, hopefully, I think they are playing in Barbados and generally, it’s not a bad wicket. It’s a reasonably good track, and it favours fast bowling, as always. I would say, definitely, India has a major upper hand in this game (against Afghanistan), considering that you have a four-pronged attack, including Hardik,” added Robin, who played 136 ODIs for India.

At Barbados, there has been constant chatter over left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav being given a game after not playing Group A games due to conditions not being conducive for spinners to thrive in New York. Asked if India could make any changes to their playing eleven for the Afghanistan game, Robin felt its hard to figure out if the side would make a change to their winning combination.

“Look, I think they have won with this squad. Of course, I don’t really know what are their game plans. It’s very easy for us to come and say X should play and Y should play. But it’s difficult to make a proper assessment, considering the wickets that they have played on, like who’s done well, who’s not done well.”

“But I think, in general, all the bowlers have come to the party and most people have delivered. So, I would say that probably they would go with the same team. I don’t see them changing this winning combination, and they have the depth with someone like Axar Patel. So, he gives you that extra batting depth, which is critical in T20. So, you can play with a lot more freedom.”

“So, it’s very hard for me to say who they’re going to leave out if they do play him. You can’t leave out the batters and fast-bowlers for sure. So, it’s not even a like-to-like choice. It’s a question of preference against the opposition, that who probably will play spin better than most oppositions,” he concluded.

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