‘Good intensity training important for next three days’: Raul Dravid tells Team India

Indian cricket team head coach Rahul Dravid has stressed on “quality practice” and “good intensity” ahead of the team’s opening Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park in Johannesburg from December 26, adding that the next three days of training will be important.

With the entire squad in attendance during the grueling practice session on Sunday evening, Dravid said, “The next three days are going to be really important in terms of our preparation and correcting ourselves for the first Test.” Quality practice and good intensity will help the team overcome the challenges it is likely to face on fast wickets here.

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During the training session, in which pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj and veteran pacer Ishant Sharma were completely hooked on a grassy wicket with plenty of bounce, Test captain Virat Kohli was forced to duck a few deliveries.

India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said in a video uploaded by BCCI that players really have to be prepared for such bouncy conditions, adding that it is not just the batsmen who have to work hard to get used to the conditions. But bowlers will also need to work on their technique to hit the “right areas”.

“I think we have to be prepared for these kind of conditions (speed and bounce). When we went in, we thought it would be sunny. But the moment we landed (we got it) it was cloudy.. It’s always challenging from a bowler’s point of view as well to hit the right areas. These are the kind of conditions we will get in a Test match and (we) should be able to take advantage of those conditions.”

Batting coach Vikram Rathour was pleased with the way the batsmen handled the bounce, saying the team was lucky to get to bat on “rainy conditions with fresh wickets”.

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“Today was a centre-wicket practice session, and luckily for us it was a fresh wicket with a cloud cover. It is very challenging for the batsmen to bat, so the way they batted today, I am very happy.”

Seeing Kohli doing a bouncer duck, Shreyas Iyer said, ‘I would say that it is a pleasure for bowlers to bowl on this wicket. There is grass on the wicket and so much bounce… Virat Kohli’s ducking.”

However, Ishant Sharma said that the way Kohli and Co played the pace bowlers on Saturday, they will be able to interact with the fast bowlers of the home team.

“Initially it was damp, so it was shaking a bit. But I felt Jasprit Bumrah and (Mohammed) Shami bowled well. I think the batsmen played very well. They know what kind of bowlers they expect to play,” Ishant said.

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