Indian team looks relaxed, Jasprit Bumrah enjoying pizza in Guyana with his wife

Jasprit Bumrah proved to be the difference maker in the match
Jasprit Bumrah proved to be the difference maker in the match (PC: X)

Ishaan Shahane and Debasis Sen in Guyana

We have reached the final stages of the ICC T20 World Cup, with India set to take on England in the semi-finals at the Providence Stadium in Guyana on Thursday. Both teams landed on Tuesday and opted to cancel their scheduled practice sessions, likely recognising the need for rest amidst the grueling tournament schedule.

The ICC World Cup demands high performance, involving numerous flights and continuous high-quality cricket. The Indian team appeared visibly tired but is expected to be fresh and ready for their crucial training session on Wednesday. In contrast, the England team, having arrived on Tuesday morning, seemed less exhausted and will be eager to explore the conditions in Guyana.

Discussing more about the off day, Indian spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, along with his wife, were seen at a local mall enjoying pizzas. Remarkably, they were sitting right ahead of Debasis and myself. The first thought that struck me was how this could never be possible in a country like India, where cricketers are constantly chased by fans. This freedom of roaming around in public might actually benefit these professional players, giving them a much-needed break from the spotlight. It was surprising and quite unusual to see Bumrah go unrecognised for the entire hour, with only one fan approaching him for a photograph. This level of anonymity is rare for Indian cricketers and a welcome change. Other players might have taken advantage as well of the rest day, a well-deserved break after India’s commanding performances in the World Cup so far.

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Team India in T20 WC
Team India in T20 WC (PC: X)

The weather has been fairly inconsistent throughout this tour, and Guyana is no exception. Some parts of the island experienced flooding, and there was a bit of drizzle on Tuesday evening accompanied by overcast conditions. However, the forecast for match day appears promising, with no significant concerns. The Providence Stadium boasts high-quality drainage systems and facilities, ensuring quick solutions in the event of a rain delay during the big match.

Anticipation for this semi-final clash remains high as both teams prepare to face off under hopefully clear skies. With the wickets being more batter-friendly, heavy scores can be expected. However, the spinners from both sides will also fancy their chances on a pitch that offers support for tweakers. The dual nature of the wicket promises an exciting contest, where both the batters and spinners will have a fair opportunity to dominate proceedings.

While speaking with the locals here in Guyana, massive crowds are expected on match day, with the Indian and Guyanese fans eager to fill up the seats. Cricket culture is rich in Guyana, and the excitement of hosting this semi-final is massive. Both teams have been in great form, and with both captains – Rohit Sharma and Jos Buttler leading from the front — this semi-final fixture promises to be a thorough entertainer. The local enthusiasm and strong support for cricket in Guyana will add to the electric atmosphere at the Providence Stadium.

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