Lucknow: Hardik Pandya’s injury-forced absence cast a giant shadow on India’s first full-fledged practice session in three days since their fourth match against New Zealand in Dharamsala.
While India managed to paper over Hardik’s unavailability with a superlative bowling effort from Mohammed Shami, who replaced the all-rounder, and some sensible batting in the middle order against the Kiwis, the long tail remains their worry. A part of Thursday’s near three-hour practice session here at the Ekana stadium was clearly was an attempt to negate this shortcoming. The Baroda all-rounder is still recuperating at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and isn’t expected to play at least two of India’s next four games.
Virat Kohli perhaps had the longest bowling stint in recent memory while all the tail-enders had lengthy batting sessions in the “nets”, In fact, Jasprit Bumrah was the first to pad up before going full tilt with the ball.
Barring Shami and wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan, the entire squad went through the rigorous regimen, starting with three sets of catching — close-in, deep and deep flat — practice. India’s fielding did come under a scanner in the Dharamsala game.
With half-a-dozen local net bowlers assisting the team, all the batters had a good hit as they await a wounded England – their next opponents here on Sunday.
There was no dearth of one-on-one exchanges between players and between players and support staff. Mohammed Siraj stood in school-boyish attention as skipper Rohit Sharma spoke to him for a considerable time while Shreyas Iyer and R Ashwin, the last one to leave the “nets”, animatedly discussed a few batting points with head coach Rahul Dravid.
(Published 26 October 2023, 16:59 IST)