England captain Joe Root has urged his teammates to keep their emotions in check during the World Cup game against India on Sunday, a loss in which could knock the pre-tournament favourites out in a stunning reversal of fortunes. After an impressive start, England’s campaign has tapered off owing to back-to-back defeats against Sri Lanka and defending champions Australia. England are currently placed fourth in the 10-team standings with eight points from seven games. They run the risk of losing out on a semifinal spot as they are pitted against India and New Zealand in their must-win last two encounters.
“I personally think we have to be very calm about how we approach the next couple of games because the games themselves might get quite emotional, especially with the atmosphere at Edgbaston,” said Root, who is also the Test captain. “We believe we’re still more than capable of qualifying for the semi-finals and when that happens, it doesn’t really matter how you got there because that’s when the tournament really starts to kick in,” he added.
Wins in both the encounters would guarantee England’s place in the semifinals, and Root said the hosts are up for the challenge. “We’ll see these two games as quarter-finals if you like, which in a way when it comes round to the knockout stage should serve you well,” he said. “You’re going to have to win big games at some stage in the tournament if you’re going to go on and win it, so it may be that ours have come just a little bit sooner than we anticipated.” Root, however, admitted that despite playing on home turf, they will also have to cope with the pressure exerted by Brimingham’s huge Indian community on Sunday.