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Looking for form, India openers put in the hard yards

cricket Updated: Oct 31, 2012 00:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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If Virender Sehwag had an extended nets session on Monday, it was the turn of fellow opener Gautam Gambhir to go the extra mile at the Ferozshah Kotla on Tuesday.

After the routine batting session, Gambhir faced throw-downs from chief coach Vijay Dahiya for about half an hour.

The extra effort at the nets by the two India openers made it clear that they were desperate to strike form, even if meant getting down to basics.

Neither has scored a ton over the past 11 Tests, and hence the first Ranji game against Uttar Pradesh assumes significance.

Spoilt for choice
"Gautam is looking good. He hit the ball well on Tuesday," said Dahiya. "The best thing about this team is that some of the players are in the same age bracket and have almost the same experience, so it's easy to get along and encourage each other."
In fact, the embarrassment of riches is such that Shikhar Dhawan's absence from the session wasn't even felt.

The Delhi left-handed opener, who last represented India in 2010, won't play the first match against Uttar Pradesh as he got married on Tuesday. He had to miss India A's warm-up match against England too.

Good for youngster
That leaves Unmukt Chand, along with the three India internationals, to man the top batting slots in the first match.

"It is a great opportunity for someone like Unmukt," said Dahiya. "While all these guys were practicing, he watched each one of them and I am sure he picked up a lot of things."
While Sehwag was more circumspect on Monday, he got some of his big shots going on Tuesday. Getting right behind the ball, he thumped a few off his hips, and a couple went sailing over midwicket region.

Virat Kohli was his usual ballistic self and left after a brief work at the nets.