Sachin Tendulkar looks set to give England's Kevin Pietersen a run for his money in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The batting maestro practiced quite a few switch-hits, raising all hopes that he would not only feature in the next match for Mumbai Indians against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday but also hoodwink the bowlers and fielders by morphing his stance into his mirror-image.
Tendulkar injured his finger trying to fend off a rising delivery from Doug Bollinger in the opener against Chennai Super Kings (CSK). It has kept him out of all the matches so far, but he batted for around one-and-half-hour at the nets on Thursday to show he is ready for action.
The batsman also tried other innovative shots like scoops and uppercuts.
And much to the awe of the crowd gathered at the Bandra-Kurla Complex to have a glimpse of their cricketing heroes, Tendulkar played switch-hits off the bowling of Pragyan Ojha and South African left-arm spinner Robin Peterson.
Mumbai Indians have lost two out of their five matches so far and are fifth in the table. They had lost their last game against Delhi Daredevils at the Wankhede stadium when they were bundled out for 92 runs, their second lowest total in the IPL.
Looking determined to lift his team's morale and help it regain its winning momentum, Tendulkar, who toiled at the nets despite it being an optional training session. He also spent a lot of time on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Wankhede Stadium, said a MI source. "He batted for around one hour each facing young local bowlers."
Tendulkar, who stepped down as skipper before the season started, also offered tips to Peterson and also bowled a few deliveries with his left-hand in a bid to assist the South African.
Paceman Lasith Malinga, who missed the last match due to back injury, did not turn up on Thursday. Skipper Harbhajan Singh also preferred to skip the optional session. However, Sri Lankan Thisara Perera joined the camp.