Team India players don white in practice match as Anil Kumble watches over
A lot of attention is currently on the India team’s preparatory camp as new coach Anil Kumble gets into stride. A refreshing sight was to be seen at the Alur Grounds on Sunday, as the India players took the field for a practice game in whites, after a prolonged period of limited overs action. The Chinnaswamy outfield has been dug up due to renovation work being done, and so the match was shifted to Alur, a few kilometres away from Bangalore.
The practice match is a departure from usual pre-tour training methods, intended to give the players a feel of being out in the middle in the longest format before they head to the West Indies on Wednesday to play a series of four Tests. Batsmen were paired up and given a time of one hour to bat, with two lifelines each. Incidentally, all but two batsmen failed the ‘one-hour’ examination – Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay took first strike on the centre pitch against the pace trio of Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with boisterous encouragement from the slip cordon where captain Virat Kohli was fielding. Ishant looked to be working on his bouncers, and his aggressive display soon broke through Vijay’s defence, who also lost his wicket once to a run out.
Dhawan seemed to improve in confidence with more time in the middle, but undid the good work by edging an attempted drive off Ravichandran Ashwin to the slips. He was caught and bowled by Bhuvneshwar the second time.
The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Kohli when he came to bat. He was circumspect while facing the faster bowlers but was more expansive when the spinners came on. He even attempted some reverse sweeps, and greeted a few short balls by swatting them to the fence. However, he found his nemesis in Ravindra Jadeja, who had his number on the day. He twice fell to the ball spinning away, once being stumped and the next time giving a catch to long off.
KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma also lost their wickets once each, the former run out because of some quick fielding and the latter throwing it away in an attempt to play an expansive reverse sweep.
As if to show how it is done, Rahane and Pujara came out to bat in the post-lunch session, and never let their guard down. Facing three spinners and three fast bowlers, neither of them lost their wickets once. Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron and Shardul Thakur were the pacers to bowl after lunch, as Ishant and Mishra were seen getting batting practice