Centurion: The Indian cricket team had its first full training session here in nearly a week as captain Virat Kohli and head coach Rahul Dravid marshalled their players at the SuperSport Park, with the latter giving tips to key batters.
India will take on hosts South Africa in a three-Test series beginning here on December 26 (Boxing Day), hoping to clinch their maiden series win in the longest format of the game here. But with no warm-up game slotted due to the tight schedule, the team will have to quickly adapt to the pitches and also acclimatise to the altitude. The venue is at a height if 1400 metres.
On Sunday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) posted a video of Team India being escorted in two buses by police vehicles to SuperSport Park, where they were seen being led by Dravid and Kohli onto the ground followed by Ravichandran Ashwin on Saturday.
The team had a warm-up session where they did a bit of jogging and stretching before getting down to business. Kohli was seen receiving batting tips from Dravid, with pacer Jasprit Bumrah — returning to play Test cricket after being rested for the two-Test series against New Zealand — going full tilt at the nets.
Mohd Shami, Ashwin and veteran pacer Ishant Sharma too bowled at the nets, with the skipper finally leaving the ground after the session, giving a thumbs up to the players as he hastily made his way out with a huge kit bag lugged on his back.
Posting the video, the Indian cricket board tweeted, “Getting Test-match ready. Snippets from #TeamIndia’s first practice session ahead of the first #SAvIND Test.”
On Saturday, the BCCI had posted a video of the players going for a light workout, which included a game of foot volley.
India’s strength and conditioning coach, Soham Desai, had emphasised that after three days of hard quarantine in Mumbai, starting a skill session right away would have been “high risk”, which is why the team had an easy session on Friday evening.
Desai also said that his main task would be to bring the players to peak fitness after three days of hard quarantine in Mumbai, followed by a 10-hour journey to Johannesburg and then another day of hard quarantine in South Africa.