Kohli Launches Rockets and Rahul Recovers – Eye on the India Nets

Photo: Debasis Sen/RevSportz

Subhayan Chakraborty at the MCA Stadium, Pune

As the Indian cricket team look to continue their dominant run in the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup, having won three out of three matches, the spotlight now turns to their next clash, against Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. After a day off, the Indian players took to the training ground on Tuesday with a clear focus on sharpening their skills.

The day began with Rohit Sharma, the captain, and Rahul Dravid, head coach, being the first to step on to the field. They engaged in lengthy discussions while also inspecting the pitch. 

Virat Kohli was eager to begin his preparations as he headed straight to the nets. Facing a couple of pace-throwdown specialists and two local net bowlers, including a left-arm orthodox spinner and an offie, Kohli worked on his technique.

Meanwhile, Shubman Gill and Rohit arrived at the nets, with Gill receiving throwdowns from Vikram Rathour, the batting coach, and Nuwan. Ravichandran Ashwin, who has sat out the last two matches, also contributed to Gill’s practice with his off-spin.

Rohit was keen on facing a variety of bowlers to hone his skills. He took on the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ashwin, and Mohammed Siraj. Hardik Pandya was also called upon to contribute to Gill’s preparation. After about 20 minutes of rigorous practice, Gill and Rohit swapped nets.

The highlight of Kohli’s practice session was his focus on power-hitting. He showcased his ability to send the ball soaring into the stands, delivering impressive strikes that left the onlookers in awe. After launching a series of rockets, Kohli made way for Ravindra Jadeja.

Ashwin bowled to his long-time spin-bowling partner, and the preparation seemed to be aimed at countering Bangladesh’s top order, which boasts three left-hand batters: Tanzid Hasan, Najmul Hossain Shanto, and Shakib Al Hasan.

KL Rahul’s practice was marked by more than 45 minutes of dedicated work with Rajnikanth Sivagnanam, strength-and-conditioning coach. The focus of this extended session was on stretching exercises, light jogging, and other exercises designed to aid Rahul’s recovery process. This extended effort might be an indicator of his need for rest or rotation in the upcoming matches. Rahul has played continuously since his return to the Indian playing XI during the Asia Cup, and managing his workload is of utmost importance.

Despite the rigorous recovery work, both Rahul and Kohli dedicated a significant amount of time to their batting practice. Their focus was clearly on lofted strokes and powerful hits, entertaining around 100 fans who were present in the stands. The cheering and chants of “Cheeku, Cheeku” added to the atmosphere.

After Rohit and Gill concluded their practice, Ishan Kishan took his turn. He faced deliveries from Kuldeep, Siraj, and a couple of net bowlers, including a left-arm pacer. Towards the end of the session, Rohit was spotted assisting Gill, providing him with throwdowns and valuable suggestions on shot selection and technique.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh fans will breathe a sigh of relief after knowing that Shakib, their captain, batted for half an hour despite carrying a left-quadricep injury and is likely to play on Thursday.

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