The main highlight of Team India’s initial practice in Chennai was the extensive net session led by Virat Kohli. After a brief break, Virat Kohli’s intensive net practice took centre stage in Team India’s first training session in the city as they prepare for their World Cup opener against Australia on Sunday.
Closed-door sessions are common in football teams, where coaches aim to keep their tactical preparations confidential and hidden from outsiders. In cricket, closed-door sessions are not as widespread since the tactics are generally more established.
However, on Wednesday, the Indian team opted to keep the media away from their practice. The primary discussion revolves around the bowling combination, including the decision of whether to include an additional fast bowler like Mohammed Shami or to utilize local favourite Ravichandran Ashwin, which depends on the pitch conditions.
Considering that Hardik Pandya is often bowling 6-7 overs or even a full quota, there may be a temptation to select Ashwin, who can be a strategic choice to unsettle the Australian batsmen.
Virat Kohli’s additional hour during practice sessions
Kohli practised with standard warm-up exercises for an extended period before facing local net bowlers. Although the training session was initially planned for two hours, Kohli continued for an additional 45 minutes due to the team missing out on two warm-up matches.
India’s absence in the World Cup warm-up games isn’t a significant setback because they recently played a three-match ODI series against Australia. While Kohli didn’t participate in the first two games of the series, he played a composed innings of 56 runs from 61 balls in the final ODI in Rajkot.
Other Indian players who practised at the nets included all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, as well as left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav. Jadeja started with bowling but also had a batting session, while Kuldeep and Pandya focused on their bowling before Pandya had a quick batting session.
The remaining players of the team, including captain and opener Rohit Sharma, skipped the training session as he was in Ahmedabad for the pre-tournament press conference.
India is scheduled to have more practice sessions in the upcoming days before their match against Australia on Sunday.