Middle-order batsman Virat Kohli hit two sixes during the training session © PTI
By Kushan Sarkar
Colombo: Sep 21, 2012
The booming drives, the ferocious cuts and the lofted shots were the order of the day at the Indian team’s training session on Friday as batsmen concentrated on taking the aerial route after a subdued start to the World Twenty20 against Afghanistan.
If one takes a close look at the Indian batting card in their opening game against Afghanistan, the champions of the 2007 edition could hit only four sixes, and that too against an inexperienced attack.
Virat Kohli hit two while there was just one each for Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Kohli’s second six, in fact, could have ended in a catch had the fielder stationed at the deep mid-wicket not made a mess of it.
No wonder, each and every batsman decided to go all out during the gruelling three-hour training session at the P Sara Oval ground here, two days ahead of the big-ticket encounter against defending champions England.
From Gautam Gambhir to Irfan Pathan, everyone seemed to be in a mood to clear the ropes whether while facing the bowlers at the nets or while receiving throwdowns.
It seemed the aim was to compensate for the lack of big ones against the minnows the other night.
In contrast, the Indian bowlers again looked lacklustre as Zaheer Khan, L Balaji and Irfan Pathan were taken to the cleaners by Dhoni and company.
The drill was simple — each and every batsman faced throwdowns from Trevor Penney and Joe Dawes before going to the nets. The instructions seemed to be clear — go for the maximum.
While the batsmen played the big shots, the bowlers looked like going through the motion.
Zaheer, who has copped a lot of flak of late for being out of sorts, didn’t look in his element.
‘Zak’, as he is popularly known in the dressing room, was singled out by Dhoni who tried his trademark ‘helicopter shot’ time and again.
One wondered whether the Indian captain would promote himself up the order as he had an extended session — the longest among all the batsmen. Even the press box at the P Sara bore the brunt of Dhoni’s brute power as one of his shots damaged its front glass.
The in-form Kohli didn’t spare the veteran pacer for whom nothing seems to be going right these days.
Yuvraj was rested due to sore throat while Suresh Raina opted out of the session due to a stomach bug.
The English team, however, had a different session at the Nondescripts Cricket Club yesterday. The batsmen seemed to be in a ‘spin mode’ as they aim to counter Ravichandran Ashwin and Co on Sunday.
Just like Graham Gooch practiced against former Mumbai left-arm spinner Ravi Thakkar ahead of the 1987 Reliance Cup semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium to counter Maninder Singh’s threat, the English batsmen were seen trying to negotiate all the off-spinners who had turned up at the nets.
Skipper Stuart Broad, however, decided to keep cards close to his chest when asked about the decision to only face spinners at the nets.
“Spin is a factor but it won’t be the only factor,” Broad state. (PTI)
ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2012: Match time table with group details