What’s the story?
With the one-off Test against Bangladesh having just got underway, the Indian cricket team have already started their preparations for the all-important four-match Test series against Australia.
It has been revealed that the batsmen were preparing to face Mitchell Starc by facing Aniket Chaudhary in the net session ahead of the Bangladesh series to counter the angles created by the left-arm quick when they take on the Aussies at home from February 23.
In case you didn’t know...
Aniket Chaudhary is a 27-year-old left-arm pacer from Rajasthan, who is considered as one of the best left-arm fast bowlers in the country. The tall and lanky fast bowler had a decent season in the recently concluded 2016-17 Ranji Trophy as he took 21 wickets in 7 matches at an average of just over 28.
He was also called to represent India A in the two-day tour game against Bangladesh at Secunderabad earlier this week where he returned with figures of 4/26 in the first innings in which the visitors were reduced to 224/8 before skipper Mushfiqur Rahim declared the innings.
The heart of the matter
After the end of the practice match, Aniket, however, didn’t fly back home to enjoy a short break before the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament. Instead, he was asked joined the Indian team in Hyderabad where they are playing Bangladesh in the visitor's first Test in India and was seen bowling to the Indian batsmen in the nets.
With the Indian pacers being predominantly right-armers, the team management needed someone who can help the batsmen get acclimatised to the threat of Mitchell Starc ahead of the Australia series.
Chaudhary is tall, can bowl at a good pace and is capable of creating the awkward angles a left-armer can create against a right-handed batsman. Though he is not as accurate as the Aussie pace spearhead, the time the Indian batsmen spent with Aniket in nets, they hope will help them deal with the New South Welshman in the four-match series.
Parallels from History
This is not the first time the Indian team is using an innovative practice method. During the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, the Indian team management had a mannequin that was 10 feet high resembling a batsman and asked the pacers to pitch deliveries on a particular length.
Ahead of the clash against Pakistan in the 2015 World Cup, the Indian cricket team support staff climbed on a stool and threw down at the batsmen to make sure that they don’t find it difficult to face Mohammad Irfan’s deliveries that come down from an approximate height of 12 feet.
Without a doubt, Mitchell Starc is one of the best fast bowlers in the world at the moment and the Indians are not taking him lightly as he is capable of taking the game away from India. It is good to see Virat Kohli and co. doing their homework so early to counter the biggest threat they could counter in the four-match series against Australia.