Team India’s preparation for South Africa is at full swing. The squad started flexing muscles at Newlands stadium before hitting the ground. Coach Sanjay Bangar is closely watching the progress of India batsmen as bowlers are throwing hard on practice nets. The team also has DGVI Raghavindraa, the throw-down specialist working at total pace with India cricketers.
India batsmen are, in fact, practicing with tennis balls in nets. Coach Bangar is trying to simulate the seam condition in the strongest way to acquaint India players to South Africa pitches. The players, including Parthiv Patel and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, are in the special practice session along with batsmen Ajinkya Rahane, M Vijay and Lokesh Rahul. Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara too followed them in a short while.
The team is going through a special session, trying to play forward according to the type of deliveries. Bangar’s strategy is to make batsmen play forward when deliveries are closer than 5 meters and for those closer than 4 meters, he guided to drive straight. The coach is quite familiar with South Africa conditions, which always favor straight drives due to small outfields and speedy ground. In South Africa, fielding ensemble like three slips in a row and a gully mean does not ensure protection. The batting coach is trying to take advantage of this very condition by making players driving hard. The practice is also about sharpening the minds of players.
Pitches in South Africa are bouncy enough. If a delivery is shorter than 5 meters, it does not fall anywhere within the range of the wicket. Highlighting this aspect, India batsman Pujara said it is ‘important’ to leave the ball, ‘especially while playing overseas’. He said, most of the pitches outside Asia are bouncy and in such pitches, batsmen should now how to leave a delivery.
Meanwhile, South Africa coach Ottis Gibson is following India’s progress closely. Per the new coach, conditions when India slogged South Africa will be different in the upcoming matches. He knows the ways of India coach Ravi Shastri, terming the latter as “an astute sort of guy when it comes to cricket”. Gibson said, the result will follow the conditions over the “green grass”.
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