After a hectic schedule of playing three games in seven days, the Indian cricket team took a much-needed two-day break to recharge. Following this rest, they returned to full training at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium on a pleasant Tuesday evening. While the session was initially optional, all players attended for a rigorous three-hour workout in preparation for their upcoming World Cup match against Bangladesh. The stadium’s lack of a separate outdoor training facility meant that open nets on the side pitches provided an unhindered view of the players’ preparation, allowing fans and volunteers to witness the training session.
Shubman Gill was among the first players to hit the training ground. He started by inspecting the pitch, likely trying to visualize his approach for the match day. Gill engaged in some shadow batting and even tested the pitch with his hands. Subsequently, Virat Kohli, team captain Rohit Sharma, and Gill got down to business in the nets. Sharma faced formidable bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, and Kuldeep Yadav, while Gill practiced against Hardik Pandya and received throwdowns from the batting coach Vikram Rathour and specialist Nuwan Seneviratne. Kohli primarily honed his skills against the net bowlers, showcasing his ability to play aggressive shots.
The open nets provided players with the freedom to practice big shots, and Kohli didn’t miss the opportunity to send the ball into the largely empty stands. After Kohli’s turn, Ravindra Jadeja took his place in the nets and also showed his prowess in hitting big shots. Mohammed Shami, who had yet to play in the World Cup, looked to be in good form during his 20-minute bowling spell, displaying his eagerness to contribute when given the opportunity. It remains to be seen whether India will make changes to their lineup against Bangladesh to keep their players fresh in a tournament as long as the World Cup.
With the tournament in full swing, these net sessions essentially help in carrying a feel-good factor into a game. “Rhythm is very important. If you look at it in other terms, it is called momentum,” Sharma stated before the Pakistan game. “The bowlers have shown very good performances. Whether it is spinners or seamers, whenever they have got a chance to put pressure on the batsmen, they have done so. And I will say that all the batsmen have scored runs. I think it’s all about the rhythm. All the players are in a good rhythm. And it is always nice to go into any World Cup game with that kind of rhythm and that confidence.”
While Gill later practiced slip catching and had a second batting stint in the evening, Sharma showcased his part-time off-breaks against Hardik Pandya after his batting session, with the all-rounder enjoying the challenge and going for aerial shots on several occasions.
In positive news for Bangladesh, their captain Shakib Al Hasan, who had been nursing a quadriceps injury, batted for around 40 minutes during their training session. This suggests that he should be fit to play against India, despite doubts about his availability due to the injury he sustained while running in the previous game against New Zealand. In that match, he not only batted but also contributed with a wicket in his 10 overs.
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