Here's why Virat Kohli and Co are keeping left-arm pacer Aniket Chaudhary close at hand
Hyderabad: The Indian cricket team's immediate opponent may be Bangladesh but it has already started homework on how to face the world's best left-arm quick bowler Mitchell Starc as Australia come calling in two weeks' time.
That's one of the primary reasons for keeping the lanky Rajasthan left-arm pacer Aniket Chaudhary in the mix.
With his height and the decent pace that he works up, Aniket can bring in more quality as a net bowler and can create those typical awkward left-armer's angles to the right-handed batsmen -- something which Starc is capable of doing at a better level.
Aniket had recently performed well for India A, taking four wickets in the warm-up game against Bangladesh. With India's specialist batsmen being right-handers, Aniket was roped in during the New Zealand series where Kohli and Co successfully countered left-armer Trent Boult's swing.
Mitchell Starc of Australia bowls during a Test against New Zealand at the WACA in 2015. Pic/Getty Images
Interestingly, Aniket has trained at the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai and also at Brisbane's National Cricket Centre in 2016.
Choudharywas Rajasthan's highest wicket-taker in the 2015 Ranji season with 25 sticks from seven games. Since making his debut in 2011, the left-arm pacer has picked 124 wickets from 39 games at an average of 27.44.
Shooting target to hit 'top of off'
India's bowlers Umesh Yadav (L) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar prepare to bowl during a team practice session on the eve of a Test match between India and Bangladesh at The Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
In his autobiography, Matthew Hayden recollected an Australian team meeting where Glenn McGrath would be asked about his strategy. His answer would be 'top of Off', which means keeping it right on top of off stump channel, making it difficult for batsmen to leave. It's boring but an extremely difficult art - hitting the channel delivery after delivery.
No wonder the Indian coaching staff employed another innovative target practice. Adjacent to the match strip, two plastic stumps were put - off and leg stump.
On top of off-stump, a square box was fixed in which a circular shooter's target was painted. The 'Bull's Eye' was located at a position that is exactly six inches above off-stump.
Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav were being monitored by coach Anil Kumble as they tried to get their line right.
In fact, it was Ravichandran Ashwin, who hit the box with a delivery that turned back sharply.
The Indian team is no stranger to innovative bowling practice methods.
During the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, the Indian team had got a 10 feet mannequin resembling a batsmen as pacers were told to pitch deliveries on a particular length.