IND v AUS: Virat Kohli faces spin majorly as others fine-tune their basics in practice session
Wednesday afternoon at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi saw a shining black Porsche catch the attention of onlookers inside and outside the venue scheduled to host the second Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test between India and Australia from Friday.
New Delhi: Wednesday afternoon at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi saw a shining black Porsche catch the attention of onlookers inside and outside the venue scheduled to host the second Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test between India and Australia from Friday.
It signalled the arrival of talismanic India batter and local boy Virat Kohli, who came to the stadium earlier than the Indian team. With the pitch being dry and possibility of a slow turning pitch being dished out for the Test, Kohli was going the extra mile to leave no stone unturned in preparation.
After initially facing pace, Kohli was facing spin mostly. He was trying to be aggressive by using his feet in facing the spinners. He held technical talks with batting coach Vikram Rathour on how he should be facing deliveries coming from rough, followed by facing a lot of deliveries from India A and Uttar Pradesh left-arm spinner Sourabh as well as Delhi spinners Pulkit Narang and Hrithik Shokeen.
In the Nagpur Test, Kohli had been strangled down leg off debutant off-spinner Todd Murphy. But Wednesday’s practice session showed that Kohli tried to iron out his issues against spin ahead of the Test match. He also did a lot of catching practice, in a bid to improve on the dropped chances while fielding at slips in Nagpur.
After Kohli left, KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara, followed by Shreyas Iyer, batted for a long period in the practice session, with Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav and Umesh Yadav taking turns to get some batting practice.
The batters initially focused on their defensive strokes, before opening up to play their shots. When facing Ravichandran Ashwin, Pujara had offered no shot and put forward the front pad. Ashwin instantly appealed loudly, before going silent and then appealing loudly in front of Sairaj Bahutule, the spin bowling coach at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
Bahutule, wearing a white panama hat, didn’t give it out and suggested to Ashwin that the ball was not going to hit the stumps. After a few minutes, Axar Patel appealed against Pujara when the right-handed batter stepped out to negotiate his delivery. Bahutule did not give it out with a gentle shake of the head.
Once Rahul was done, Rohit Sharma came in and focused on his straight bat shots. Pujara, all set to mark his 100th Test appearance, was cracking his drives well, used his feet well against spinners and tried to sweep a lot more than he usually does before going to have discussions with head coach Rahul Dravid.
The next set of batters saw Ravindra Jadeja executing his sweep and pull apart from some defensive strokes, while Ishan Kishan swept a lot and even brought out a thunderous loft. Suryakumar Yadav was dancing down the pitch a lot against spinners while KS Bharat, after a long time of wicketkeeping, took the same route while finetuning his defense.
There were some cheers for Axar Patel from the fans behind the giant black gate, peeing from the small view and taking his name constantly. As the chants from the few fans grew a little louder, Axar said, “Batting karnede pehle (let me do batting first), followed by “arey bhai batting karu (brother, let me do the batting).
With Thursday being an optional training session for India starting from morning, one would be curious to see who turn up from India at the stadium for further finetuning and leave the onlookers dazzled.