Club class training for first class India
The biggest challenge for any visiting team playing a Test series in West Indies down the years has been about preparing to face the home fast bowlers. N Ananthanarayanan reports.cricket Updated: Jun 21, 2011 02:17 IST
The biggest challenge for any visiting team playing a Test series in West Indies down the years has been about preparing to face the home fast bowlers. The decline of the Caribbean and slowing down of the pitches in the region has not entirely taken away the pace threat.
With the West Indies pace trio of Ravi Rampaul, Fidel Edwards as well as Kemar Roach posing a threat on a Sabina Park pitch affording good pace and carry, it was important for India to be ready for the first Test.
The task was made tougher due to the inexperience of the young batsmen called up in the absence of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar. But poor practice facilities in Kingston has made the world's number one ranked team to run around like a ragtag club outfit to somehow get some training in.
Asked at the toss to sum up things at the start of the series, skipper MS Dhoni diplomatically put across the frustration: "We have trained for the last two days using the facilities"
A dubious pitch in the batting nets of the Sabina Park on Friday and Saturday left opener Murali Vijay with a bruised left forefinger after a delivery from 21-year-old Jamaican left-arm paceman Sheldon Cotterel rose awkwardly. Coach Duncan Fletcher was left fuming the next day and ordered the players to stay from that particular track, forcing them into using tennis balls to simulate the bounce they would have to contend with.
On Sunday, the players headed to the 130-year-old Kensington Club ground. The likes of former West Indies batting great Lawrence Rowe and Test batsman Wavell Hinds have played for the club. The twin pitches in the middle were basic, to say the least.
As Dhoni walked away after a session of mostly casual knocking, he joked: "Have finished a very good session."
With pads on, he along with Vijay, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and debutants Virat Kohli and Abhinav Mukund were driven back to the Sabina Park nets, where it was
again mostly back to tennis ball throwdowns and facing spin bowling.
If India go on to take command of the first Test, the players could well go away happy with the best training facilities they could have asked for!