India vs SA 2022: KL Rahul-led Men in Blue sweat it out in nets ahead of 1st T20I – WATCH | Cricket News

The Indian team had a productive time in its first official practice session ahead of the first T20I match against South Africa at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Monday.

After some fitness drills, the team shifted to the adjoining west stand nets for net sessions. Barring Hardik Pandya, Harshal Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal, everyone participated in the practice session. Captain K.L Rahul, Ishan Kishan and Ruturaj Gaikwad were the first batters to have a go at the bowlers.

While Rahul and Kishan faced the pacers and spinners in the nets, Gaikwad faced some throwdowns led by Raghu.

Venkatesh Iyer, Arshdeep Singh, and Delhi’s Simarjeet Singh, one of the net bowlers, bowled in tandem against Kishan, varying their lengths and testing the left-handed batter.

Head coach Rahul Dravid was immersed in a long conversation with pacer Avesh Khan while bowling coach Paras Mhambrey was seen giving suggestions to Venkatesh and Simarjeet.

Vice-captain Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, and Dinesh Karthik were the next batters to have a go against the bowlers. Shreyas began by batting against throw-downs while Pant faced Avesh and Umran Malik alternatively and Karthik was up against Kuldeep Yadav and Ravi Bishnoi.

Umran was impressive in bowling against Pant, hustling with pace and with Dravid keenly observing, the young Jammu pacer kept the left-hander on a tight leash.

Apart from this, Pant was targeting shots on balls at the fourth stump line and brought out leg-side flick while showing discipline to balls pitched on off-stump.

In between, Karthik was practicing scoops and leg-side shots against throw-down specialists while Shreyas was putting himself to test against leg-spinners, one of his weak points in IPL 2022 and faced deliveries mostly pitching on a good length.

It was Pant’s turn then to face the spinners and he countered them by dancing down the pitch and presenting the full face of the bat.

Next to bat were Venkatesh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar with Deepak Hooda and Axar Patel joining in. Venkatesh struck some powerful shots while Bhuvneshwar played shots that oozed class and confidence.

In the meantime, Dravid was having conversations with Rahul, batting coach Vikram Rathour and chief selector Chetan Sharma.

The session ended with Kuldeep Yadav getting some batting practice along with Bhuvneshwar and Mhambrey working with Arshdeep on his yorkers from round the wicket angle, saying ‘quicker through the air’ in between to the left-arm pacer.

There were baseball gloves kept at the blockhole area with a bottle of energy drink placed near the tramline. The plan was for Arshdeep to hit these areas consistently and streamline the line of the bowler.

Notably, newly IPL winning captain Hardik Pandya was missing from the squad as he has not joined the team yet.”

No, he is not with us yet. But he might join us by tomorrow. Everything is fine and you will be definitely seeing him on the ground on June 9,” a source from BCCI told ANI.

Hardik will be making his comeback to the Team India squad, after his successful stint in IPL 2022, where he guided Gujarat Titans to the title in their maiden season.

India, currently on a 12-match winning streak in the format, will begin the five-match T20I series against South Africa at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on Thursday.

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