Indian cricket team chief coach Rahul Dravid has stressed on “quality practice” and “good intensity” ahead of the team’s opening Test against South Africa at the SuperSport Park in Johannesburg beginning December 26, adding that the next three days of training would be crucial.
With the entire squad in attendance during a gruelling practice session under overcast conditions on Sunday evening, Dravid said that, “The next three days are going to be really important in terms of our preparation and getting ourselves right for the first Test,” adding that quality practice and good intensity would help the team to overcome the challenges it’s likely to face on pacey wickets here.
During the training session, which saw pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Siraj and veteran fast bowler Ishant Sharma going full tilt on a grassy wicket with plenty of bounce, Test skipper Virat Kohli was forced to duck a few deliveries.
India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said in the video uploaded by the BCCI that the players will have to really be prepared for such bouncy conditions, adding that it’s not just the batters who’ll have to work hard to get used to the conditions, but the bowlers too would need to work on their technique in order to hit “the right areas”.
“I think we’ve got to be prepared for such kind of conditions (pace and bounce). When we walked in, we thought it would be sunny. But the moment we turned out at the ground (we got) overcast conditions it’s always challenging from the bowlers’ perspective as well to kind of hit the right areas. These kinds of conditions we’ll get in the Test match and (we) should be able to exploit those conditions,” said Mhambrey.
Batting coach Vikram Rathour was happy with the way the batters handled the bounce, saying the team was fortunate to get a chance to bat on a “fresh wicket with overcast conditions”.
“Today was a centre-wicket practice session, and fortunately for us it was a fresh wicket with overcast conditions. Pretty challenging for the batters to bat on, so the way they went about it today I am extremely happy,” said Rathour.
Seeing Kohli ducking a bouncer, Shreyas Iyer said that, “I would say, it’s a bowlers’ delight to bowl on this wicket. There’s grass on the wicket and so much bounce Virat Kohli’s ducking.”
However, Ishant Sharma expressed that with the way Kohli and company played the pacers on Saturday, they would be able to negotiate the home team fast bowlers.
“It was damp initially, so it was moving a bit. But I felt that Jassi (Jasprit Bumrah) and (Mohd) Shami bowled pretty well. I think the batters played pretty well. They know what kind of bowlers they hope to play,” added Ishant.
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