India’s MS Dhoni smashes the ball in the nets at the Cricket Club of India’s Brabourne Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
All eyes were on MS Dhoni as the India A team got ready for nets on the eve of their day-night warm-up game against England at Cricket Club of India's (CCI) Brabourne Stadium yesterday.
This is Dhoni's first public appearance after he stepped down from India's ODI and T20 captaincy, so the spotlight on the ex-skipper was obvious. This isn't anything new for him and so there wasn't any apparent display of emotions as he went about playing football, stretching and warming up with the rest and padding up to bat in the second round of the nets session.
Dhoni got an extended hit at the nets, maybe because he wasn't middling the ball as much as he would have liked to when he started.
Dhoni goes aerial
He mistimed few of the big hits to start with but was soon in his element, hitting spinners and pacers alike deep into the stands. And once he was happy with his strokes, he left the nets to come and sign autographs for waiting fans on the sidelines.
Another cricketer in focus, Yuvraj Singh, his swagger intact, arrived a little late than his teammates and went about doing his warm-up and stretching routine on the foam roller along with another veteran in the team - Ashish Nehra. Both had some catching and fielding practice before coming in to bowl.
Nehra, bowling off a short run-up showed why he is so dangerous with the white ball. One, he was accurate in line and length and two, he was also moving the ball either ways beating almost everyone he bowled to.
Balls fly at Brabourne
Yuvi, who was bowling at the adjacent net, was more flatter and faster after Mandeep Singh deposited some of his tossed up ones in the stands. Mandeep was looking to hit everything over the top, but was watchful against Yuzvendra Chahal. He didn't show much discomfort handling the seamers as well, but handled Nehra with lot of respect. Shikhar Dhawan, returning from injury, was a bit tentative to start with. He was seen flashing anything that was outside off and missing, mostly those from the seamers which moved away after pitching. He was quite comfortable playing the spinners, though he preferred playing most of his shots off the back foot cutting and pulling.
Hardik looks fully fit
Among the others, Kuldeep Yadav, bowling left-arm chinaman, also looked brilliant. Hardik Pandya seems to have recovered well from his injury and as proof of it, made Sanju Samson smell leather on few occasions. Ambati Rayudu mistimed a few to start with and took some time before finding the sweet spot of the bat.
England have not won an ODI series in India in their last three attempts, going down 5-0 in 2008-09 and 2012 and 3-2 in 2013.