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WT20: One-arm bowler Gurudas Raut shocks Ind, NZ during practice

One-arm bowler Raut shocks as well as impresses India and New Zealand players during nets at Nagpur

Nagpur: The India and New Zealand teams had a special, inspirational figure amongst them during their training session on the eve of the ICC World T20 opener here yesterday.

Net bowler Gurudas Raut, who is also captain of the Indian team for disabled cricket with New Zealand batsman Grant Elliot at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur yesterday. Pics/Harit N Joshi
Net bowler Gurudas Raut, who is also captain of the Indian team for disabled cricket with New Zealand batsman Grant Elliot at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur yesterday. Pics/Harit N Joshi

The teams were pleasantly surprised to see a net bowler with one hand, running into to bowl at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium (VCA) nets. The net bowler was Gurudas Raut, skipper of the Indian disabled cricket team.

"I bowled to the Indian team for the first time in 2012 before the India vs England Test and was delighted to claim the wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, my idol and the reason why I play cricket," said 28-year-old Raut, who has an amputated left hand.

Seeing Raut bowl in the nets yesterday lifted the spirit of the New Zealanders. "Kane Williamson (NZ skipper) and Grant Elliot were shocked to see me. They saluted my spirit for taking up the sport and wished me well," said Raut, who was part of the Indian team that whitewashed South Africa 6-0 in 2014. The kit for that
tour was sponsored by India skipper MS Dhoni.

"Dhoni sir and Sachin sir said we (the disabled cricketers) are their inspiration because, despite so many shortcomings, we follow our dreams. Sachin sir saluted my junoon (passion)," said Raut.

Team India adds another masseur
The Indian team management has added another member to their support staff for the ICC World T20. With one masseur (Arun Kanade) not enough for the squad, the team management added Rajeev Kumar as an additional masseur to keep the squad fit and ready to cope with the rigours of international cricket's shortest format. It is learnt that one masseur was simply not enough to meet the needs of the entire playing squad, hence the addition.

New BCCI masseur Rajeev Kumar works on Yuvraj Singh in Nagpur yesterday
New BCCI masseur Rajeev Kumar works on Yuvraj Singh in Nagpur yesterday

What is Bhuvneshwar doing with Team India?
Team India seem to be making it a habit to have an extra player in their ranks — outside the 15 as per International Cricket Council's (ICC) norms at world events. In the 2015 World Cup, which was played in Australia and New Zealand, India had Mumbai bowler Dhawal Kulkarni as back-up in case of the pacers landed on the injured list.

For the ICC World T20, Team India have kept back Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was Mohammed Shami's replacement in the Asia Cup T20 squad for. Shami had failed to recover fully from the Grade II injury to his left hamstring which he suffered during the limited overs tour to Australia earlier this year.

Bhuvneshwar did not bowl in the main nets, but preferred to roll his arm over in an arena behind the stadium. Kulkarni's stay with the Indian team during the 2015 World Cup cost the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) R2 crore which they paid to the ICC for keeping him as an extra player in the squad. Keeping Bhuvneshwar in the team has raised concerns whether Shami is fully fit.

NZ batting coach Craig McMillan wears a helmet at nets yesterday
NZ batting coach Craig McMillan wears a helmet at nets yesterday

Coaching with helmets
It's not just the players who ensure they are well protected from external injuries. Even the coaches seem particular about their safety. Former all-rounder Craig McMillan, the batting coach of the Kiwis wore a helmet during nets yesterday. With the batsmen looking to smash the ball as hard as they can while preparing for a T20 match, McMillan's safety-first approach seems practical.

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