LUCKNOW: India vice-captain Hardik Pandya will miss their World Cup match with England as he continues to recover from a left ankle injury so the hosts may stick with his replacement Suryakumar Yadav, batsman KL Rahul said on Saturday.

All-rounder Pandya hurt his ankle while looking to stop a shot with his leg off his own bowling in India’s seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in Pune. He then missed the win over New Zealand where Suryakumar was run out for two.

“Hardik has been a very important member of the team .. so not having him is also a bit of a miss for the team,” Rahul told reporters ahead of Sunday’s game in Lucknow.

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“Surya will probably get his chance and we know what he can do. So our confidence is in Surya till Hardik comes back.”

India are looking to leapfrog South Africa and return to the top of the table with their sixth consecutive win and could not ask to face England at a better time, with the holders all but eliminated after four losses in five games.

But Rahul said India would not take their opponents lightly and must focus on their own strengths.

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“They’re still a dangerous team,” he said. “We’ll not go by what has happened with them in the last few games. We’ll focus on tomorrow.”

All of India’s victories have come while chasing and Rahul said it would be good to test themselves batting first.

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“It’ll be a great opportunity if we get to bat first before the next stage,” he said.

“In the next four games if we can get to bat first it’ll be a good challenge for us to just see how to pace the innings and it’s been some time since we’ve batted first.”


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