India are preparing for every bowling scenario in their bid to beat South Africa in a three-Test series starting at Newlands on 5 January.
They held another practice session at the Western Province Cricket Club on Sunday, when they had the unusual experience of having to use indoor nets during a morning shower, before moving outside for the afternoon in humid conditions.
The Indian team elected not to have a warm-up match, choosing instead to have concentrated nets practices, in which they could determine time and intensity.
‘We cannot say what kind of wicket we will get in the match,’ said right-arm pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. ‘But we know the general conditions in South Africa, so we are preparing according to that. We just want to prepare our best.
‘You play a six-hour Test match [each day]. We just wanted to bowl as long as possible to get into that mode. We didn’t do anything different, we wanted to go through our basics.
‘The first thing that changes from India is the bounce, I won’t say it swings in South Africa. It doesn’t swing much, but the bounce is something every fast bowler enjoys. That’s something we really wanted to practise. We wanted to cover all the basic things. Whenever there is extra bounce, where to bowl, what field we can have to get them out — these are the little things we wanted to do in the practice session.’
India even prepared a seaming wicket at Eden Gardens in the first Test against Sri Lanka in their recent series, to get used to the faster-paced surface.
To that end, they have a formidable battery of pace from which to choose: Bhuvneshwar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah.
But they know that the best-laid plans can go awry.
‘The first thing that comes to our mind when we come to South Africa is bouncy wickets, seaming wickets, but there is no surety that we are going to get those wickets,” Bhuvneshwar said. ‘The Kookaburra [ball] is one of the toughest balls to bowl with. It doesn’t do much after 25-30 overs. These are the kind of situations we are tackling in the practice session.
‘Maybe a couple of days before the Test match, we will see how we can go into the Test match, or what are the things we can bring into the Test match regarding strategies, their batsmen,’ he added.
There was good news for Kohli’s men with opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who had hobbled on to the plane four days back with an ankle strain, going through his paces with little discomfort.
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