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Batting remains a big concern for India

cricket Updated: Aug 24, 2010 00:21 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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After facing their second humiliating defeat in three outings, the biggest turnout of India players for an optional practice session on Monday did not come as a surprise.

Barring seniors Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and rookie Saurabh Tiwary, the rest of the 13 members slogged it out at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium's practice facility.

At the back of Sunday's horrendous batting collapse against Sri Lanka, their second of the tri-series after the flop show against New Zealand in the opener, it wasn't surprising to see the remaining five batsmen bat it out against the bowlers in the squad.

Except skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was involved in a match-winning partnership with Sehwag against the Kiwis, Dinesh Karthik, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma have had a forgettable tournament so far.

Undoubtedly, the conditions are as tough as it can get for a batsman in the sub-continent, but what is disconcerting is that the youngsters have been repeating their mistakes.

Rohit, for instance, has got out twice while trying to flick one that pitched on off-stump.

Those who point to the bowler-friendly conditions as a reason for failure, should look at the young brigade's record in Dambulla. All four have played ample cricket in the island for over two years. A little over a month before the tri-series, they had featured in the Asia Cup.

Despite decent knocks in that tournament, Rohit and Karthik have failed to adapt to the conditions this time, falling prey to slight movement off the seam.

If they fire in Wednesday's must-win tie against New Zealand and help India enter the final, they would have made a case for themselves for the World Cup.

Every batsman finds it difficult to play the moving ball, but only some succeed. That's because they make a sincere effort to overcome the odds. For that to happen, one needs, besides slight change in technique, to be eager to combat adverse conditions.

The India team management does not seem to be worried on this front. Sehwag had said last week that too much should not be read into the performance at Dambulla.

The talking point for the next six months will be the World Cup and let's not forget that it is sandwiched between tours to South Africa, West Indies and England.

If the Indian batsmen do not adapt to the conditions in South Africa, especially during the five one-dayers, that will be the worst preparation for the mega event.