India will be starting as overwhelming favourites when they face Bangladesh in a proverbial ‘David vs Goliath’ one-off cricket Test in Hyderabad on Thursday. However, that did not stop the players from giving their hundred percent in the training sessions and here’s a look at how the India cricket team geared up in the nets for the Bangladesh challenge -
Block ‘em out
The Indian team took to the nets blacking out their nemesis and prime pesterers, the media. They put big black boards behind ever net to block the view of the photographers and journalists who had keenly followed and clicked and wrote about them on Tuesday. Perhaps it was to hide some strategy or was their presence distracting them? Perhaps it was putting too much pressure on them.
Catch that ‘hand grenade’
Indian team under Dhoni would warm up with a game of football. On Tuesday, Virat’s boys had played foot volley, something it had been doing over the past few games. It is quite popular --- Ranji teams regularly use it to warm up and cool down. However, on Wednesday, Virat’s boys warmed up with a grenade-like object that leaves behind a whistling sound as it cuts through the air. South Africans, New Zealanders and Aussies use the rugby ball instead.
Don’t let them slip through
Catching, especially in the slips, has been a problem with India ever since the Big Boys (Dravid, Laxman & Co) retired from Test cricket. India have been struggling to hold on to catches in the cordon. England got reprieves in the recent Test series and the image of Ajinkya Rahane struggling to hold onto a catch as he fell is firmly etched in one’s memory. So on Tuesday and Wednesday, Virat Kohli was seen using a tennis racket and tennis balls to give his boys some catching practice. The ball would come fast with the impact of the strings and it’d be challenge holding on to it.
While there is little doubt that most of Virat Kohli’s boys are pretty athletic and quick, forming one of the best fielding bunch India has produced despite their fumbles in the slips and outfield. But hitting the stumps calls for regular practice. More importantly, collecting the ball deflected from the stumps needs practice too.
Two target stumps (flexible at the base) were fixed on the ground and the fielders lined up on either side of it. They threw the ball diagonally to the fielder on the other side on one bounce, ensuring that it hit the flexible cone before reaching the fielder on the other side. Only a few throws went perfectly.
Keep a left-armer
Left-arm seamer Aniket Choudhary is travelling with the team. Rajasthan paceman Aniket took four wickets for India A to rock Bangladesh in the warm-up game that ended on Tuesday. But why would you carry a left-arm seamer with the team when there is none in this Bangladesh squad. Talk doing the rounds is that Indians are gearing up Mitchell Starc who’ll visit India with the Aussies for a four-Test series later this month. But will Aniket give them the bounce and reverse swing that Starc.