Adelaide: India won the 2011 World Cup under the mentorship of the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. And if the run-up to the start of the 2015 edition is any indication, it seems Tendulkar is, in a way, the guiding light here too.
Suresh Raina (with apple in hand) and Shikhar Dhawan at St Peter’s College Oval nets at Adelaide yesterday PIC/Suman Chattopadhyay
A day after the Master Blaster wrote in his column for www.icc-cricket.com that the new rule of five fielders in the 30-yard circle will pose a challenge for batsmen struggling with form, Team India, going by their practice drills yesterday at St Peter’s College’s Main Oval, seem to have taken his warning very seriously. Almost every Indian batsman tonked bowlers over the infield consistently yesterday. The intentions seemed clear. Against Pakistan on Sunday’s big World Cup encounter, Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s batters are going to be on the aggressive from the word go and leave nothing to chance. They will constantly look to clear the packed in-field.
Itching for a hit?
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his deputy Virat Kohli were quick to hit the nets. The duo ensured most of their shots crossed over the seven-foot nets. Kohli spent around 30 minutes in the nets, then went out in the centre where he again went slam bang with Rohit Sharma at the other end for another 30 minutes before returning to the nets again for some more shot-making. While Umesh Yadav, Mohd Shami and a couple of net bowlers took most of the initial hammering, the spinners were not spared. Kohli kept hitting Ravindra Jadeja over widish mid-off, one bounce to the fence. The Delhi dasher even tried a couple of reverse sweeps to Axar Patel, but had his stumps uprooted once in the bargain. Senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was most miserly among the lot.
Rohit and Shikhar Dhawan’s timing seemed sweet too. However, the one man whose recent form with the willow came shining through was Mumbai lad Ajinkya Rahane.