Gems from the master

Tendulkar has been a great student of the game, his modest record as Indian captain notwithstanding, and whenever he is in action, he holds the audience captive. He didn’t have the best batting day at nets on Friday afternoon, but as he moved to the Kirsten net, Tendulkar came into his own.

A discussion between the master and the coach on opening up the body while driving on the up, and its pros and cons, found a fascinated onlooker in Yuvraj Singh, patiently waiting for Tendulkar to wind up so that he could be the beneficiary of Kirsten’s throw-downs. After Yuvraj, it was Virat Kohli’s turn to stand up to Kirsten’s mean missiles, with a refreshed but still padded-up Tendulkar watching his younger mate keenly.

On more occasion than one, Kohli offered no more than half a bat as he tried to ride the bounce and play the short ball behind point. Tendulkar quickly walked up to the young man, impressing upon him the benefits of softening the bottom hand, and allowing the ball to come and hit the full face of the bat as opposed to being squared up and offering a half bat. Kohli proved a quick learner, doing the master’s bidding off the next delivery and receiving an approving nod in return.

That little exchange was perhaps the most compelling moment in an otherwise routine day at office for the Indians. A snappy game of football to literally kick things off was backed up by a shift to the NCA nets, around which a sizeable number of fans -- young and old, male and female -- gathered to watch their heroes in action.

Only off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was conspicuously absent, preferring to make optimum use of the fact that it was ostensibly an optional practice session. The rest were out in full force, ticking over like a well-oiled machine even if the intensity of the previous day wasn’t quite in evidence.

Long before the Indians arrived, Ricky Ponting’s Australians had come and gone. Not unlike India’s routine on day one, the Aussies too chose to ignore their cricketing gear. The run out was more to shake off any lingering effects of jet lag and to ease stiff muscles after the long journey to Bangalore. It will be back to business on Saturday afternoon in Australia’s only full-fledged session before their first warm-up game, against India on Sunday.

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