Cricketers get back on track after break

Focus will be on skills over the next three days at preparatory camp


At the National Cricket Academy, the Sri Lanka-bound Indian side began its grind with bleep tests in the afternoon.

After catching up with Virender Sehwag, undergoing rehabilitation at the NCA following shoulder surgery, and exchanging pleasantries, the players, including skipper MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and the returning Rahul Dravid, were closeted in the academy’s gym for over three hours.

While most of Thursday was devoted to fitness tests under new trainer Ramji Srinivasan, a few of the players tried their hand at badminton at the KSCA courts, stumper Dinesh Kaarthick and offie Harbhajan Singh leading the way followed by Dhoni.  
“It’s important for us to try and get back on track. The players had a decent break although we had a fitness assessment two weeks ago. It’s for us to assess the guys again as to where they are physically.

“We put a big focus on our condition because this is the last break and it has given them the time to work on that side of their game,” coach Gary Kirsten told the media.  
The South African said in the following days, practice will get intense with more stress on cricket skills. “It’s time to up the intensity in practice. The guys are going to hit a lot of balls over the next few days and they are going to do lots of bowling. We know that in two weeks’ time we have one-day internationals coming up and it’s for us to really set things up for the season,” he stated.

The former left-handed opener was pleased with what he saw of the players. “I am very happy with the results today. Based on what we saw two weeks ago, there has been a significant improvement from every player and that means they are taking it seriously. That’s all we wanted.

“The players have realised that this is a part of the game that they all want to improve on and the players have taken on that responsibility. I am very happy with what has happened today. We will see more assessments as we progress,” he explained.
The coach felt four days was enough preparation. “We try and plan these things in whatever way we can over the long term. We felt this is sufficient time.

“It was very important for the guys to have at least a six-week break. It’s the longest break they have had for a long time. It was important that they were mentally fresh for that process,” he noted.

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