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Indian batters get to grips with WI’s slower surfaces

The Indian team must have felt the same for they hit the beaches for some volleyball before hitting the ‘nets’ on Monday. It was a fairly relaxed session, save for a minor hit to Ravindra Jadeja’s thumb, which was meant for acclimatisation.
Last Updated : 18 June 2024, 21:12 IST

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Bridgetown: Finally, it felt like a World Cup, and all it took was a four-hour flight across the Caribbean Sea. 

From the time you land at Grantley Adams International airport, the buzz - unnaturally absent in the United States of America - was all-encompassing in Barbados. 

From the drivers to those helping hands at the airport, minus the guns, it was all so seamless you were left to wonder why at all go elsewhere for a spot of cricket. 

The Indian team must have felt the same for they hit the beaches for some volleyball before hitting the ‘nets’ on Monday. It was a fairly relaxed session, save for a minor hit to Ravindra Jadeja’s thumb, which was meant for acclimatisation. 

Unlike those pitches which forced batters to duck and fend against body blows at the Nassau County International stadium and the Cantiague Park (for practice), the practice pitches at the Kensington Oval were slow but true. The sticky nature of the pitches still didn’t allow for fluent shotmaking, but Tuesday turned out to be better, and more relatable to T20 cricket. 

As the weather vacillated between hot, humid and pleasantly windy with a sweetness in the air, the Indian team marched into the venue with purpose, eyes firmly set on their opening Super Eight clash against Afghanistan on June 20.  

After India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey took a good long look at the practice strips, head coach Rahul Dravid was the pitch doctor as always, studying the main square with more curiosity than some of the players themselves.
He spent a decent amount of time picking the curator’s brain about a pitch, which had the colouration of a sandy long-jump pit. 

Post which, Dravid stretched more diligently than some of the players before whistling for a huddle. 

Though this was an optional session, save for Rishabh Pant, all the others, including the two reserves, were in attendance.
Surely, the management took the call based on the fact that they have not had to play on these pitches unlike some of the other teams.

Once Dravid was done, Rohit Sharma took over and spoke at length about the dimensions of the Oval and the things batters need to be aware of.
Virat Kohli, not one to be left out, spoke briefly about intent before everyone rushed to do fielding drills, watched over by fielding coach T Dilip. 

After the drills, the batters - Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav and Rohit, assembled and got in some throwdowns before the rain put an end to the session. Kohli’s desperation to get a hit, however, forced the sidearm specialists to stay on and throw at him on an unprepared pitch, still accompanied by a steady drizzle. 

The rain eventually relented and the batters got back onto prepared pitches. They found the slow pace of the pitch a bit hard to get a hang of, but it wasn’t dangerous and that was good enough for them given what they’ve had to experience for the last few weeks. 

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Published 18 June 2024, 21:12 IST

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