The Asia Cup-bound Indian cricket team assembled on Thursday at the Karnataka State Cricket Association’s (KSCA) Three Ovals campus in Alur for a six-day camp before they leave for Sri Lanka on August 30. The opening day saw various fitness and medical tests being conducted along with the mandatory yo-yo test, where Shubman Gill smashed Virat Kohli’s score (17.2) with a staggering mark of 18.7.
While most of India’s Asia Cup-bound cricketers passed the yo-yo test with flying colours there were five who did not take the test. According to news agency PTI, the five cricketers – Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, Tilak Varma, Sanju Samson (reserve member for Asia Cup) and KL Rahul – all underwent the tests.
Rahul still hasn’t regained full fitness. While he did attend gym sessions, the team management and physios did not want to risk the keeper-batter ahead of Asia Cup by making him go through the yo-yo test.
As far as Bumrah, Tilak, Krishna and Samson are concerned, they were not required to take the test as they had just returned from a successful Ireland series. They straight away started the practice sessions on Friday.
India slowly began building towards the Asia Cup with a Star Sports video revealing the details of India’s preparation for the continental event, followed by the World Cup a month later.
On Friday, as India began their true preparation for the Asia Cup, with their campaign beginning against Pakistan on September 2 in Pallekele, the official broadcasters of the event released a video to X to give a peak into the team’s plan for gearing up for the back-to-back ODI tournaments.
It was a strategy that KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer adopted at the NCA last week to prove their fitness, in terms of batting and fielding, before their selection for the Asia Cup squad. According to it, players are put into various match situations to test their ability to break out of it and practicing towards a better result.
On Friday, based on the details revealed by Star Sports, captain Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill had straight away taken the centre-wicket practice session with the likes of Mohammed Siraj bowling at them. With teams adopting a more aggressive approach to the ODI format, dividing their strategy on a 10-over basis, Rohit and Gill went through a similar drill for the opening 10 overs of an innings. The pair batted for a long time before heading towards the practice nets where they spent a considerable time as well.
If anything, it does give a sense that Gill is intact as Rohit’s opening partner for the tournament amid discussions about Ishan Kishan. Since June last year, Gill has opened the innings more number of times than any of the other six options, scoring 1225 runs in 22 innings with three centuries, including a double, and six fifies. He has also stitched 683 runs with Rohit during this period in eight innings with two century stands.
With India still having four more days of practice, it is yet to be seen if Rohit bats with Ishan as well, although they have never played together in an opening stand in the latter’s five appearances in the format since last year. It is also yet to be seen what are the other pairs that are put through similar drills.
Variety in net bowlers
While Siraj was among the most active bowlers on Friday, as seen in the video, it was revealed that India have carried a variety of net bowlers which included pace sensation Umran Malik. Ankit Choudhary, the tall left-arm pacer, was also part of the camp along with leg-spinner Rahul Chahar and slow left-arm orthodox bowler in Sai Kishore.
India’s bowling department however comprises of spinners in Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav while the pacers include Siraj, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Prasidh Krishna and Hardik Pandya.