Indian team started its preparation for the forthcoming Test series against Australia with an intense practice session at the M Chinnaswamy stadium and the National Cricket Academy premises on Saturday.
It was for the first time in nearly three months the entire Test squad came together for a full-fledged training session, the last instance being the fourth Test at Nagpur against England.
The first day of the three-day camp saw the Indians go through Test match simulation, focussing on taking singles and doubles interspersed with occasional big hits, also offered a peek into India’s batting line-up for the first Test against Australia, beginning at the MA Chidambaram stadium from February 22. The long day for the Indians -- the team left the hotel around 9 am and called it a day by 4.30 pm -- began with Virender Sehwag and M Vijay, the most likely opening pair for the Chennai Test, taking the first strike against the likes of Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashok Dinda, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha. A group of young net bowlers too contributed to the training session with handy spells the whole day.
Sehwag, who smashed around the specialist and part-time bowlers alike, wore prescription glasses, which he has been wearing for a week now, once he walked away from the middle, and had a short stint at the NCA nets with the corrective glasses on. But it’s to be noted that the Delhiite was not in any obvious discomfort batting without specs in the simulation session.
After spending a good time in the middle, Sehwag and Vijay made way for Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in that order, while the fringe players such as Ajinkya Rahane, and Shikhar Dhawan, who replaced Gautam Gambhir in the line-up, too got their chance to spend some time in the middle with head coach Duncan Fletcher, bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penny keenly involving in the activities. Tendulkar and Kohli, who was once stumped off Ojha, had a rather extended time in the middle, polishing their craft ahead of a tough series.
Besides the simulation session, the players also went through a few throwdowns at a far net, while trainer Ramji Srinivasan tested the endurance putting some of them -- Dhawan and Jadeja -- through a few rounds of sprint with a muzzle fitted to their face, adding a touch of novelty to the day’s proceedings. The mask is used to reduce the Oxygen in-take, recreating the high-altitude atmosphere.