Australia's batsman Mike Hussey said recently that the most important aspect of batting well at the WACA is to leave the of length balls. That is exactly what Indian opener Gautam Gambhir was practising over and over again at the team's training session here yesterday.
Gautam Gambhir (left) with Virender Sehwag during a practice session
at the WACA in Perth yesterday. Pic/AFP
Gambhir faced the net bowlers with a new ball. The game plan was simple � leave as many balls as possible. It was almost like he was training his mind. Every time he played at one, he would look back to verify if the ball had hit the stumps or gone over the stumps. A couple of times, he moved his head back in disappointment after playing at few which would have gone over the stumps.
Before moving to the side net he had a quick chat with coach Duncan Fletcher, who seemed to be cheaking his backlift. Fielding coach Trevor Penney then tested Gambhir's ability to leave with throw downs in the side net.
After missing a few of them, Fletcher ran down the wicket and stood at the length he believed Gambhir didn't need to play in at Perth. Gambhir carried on and watched the balls thud into the advertising board behind the stumps. The bottom of the advertising banner was at the same height as the top of the stumps. A good leave was immediately acknowledged by Penney, "That's it, Gauti, well left".
On most occasions, Penney said, "Good, it is coming lot straighter" and if it didn't, he would revert back, "got you there, Gauti". Gambhir then went back to the dressing room for refreshments and came back to continue in the nets for another hour. After watching him go through the drills, one thing is for sure: You cannot complain about his dedication.