ICC WTC Final, India vs New Zealand: With nearly one month left for the inaugural World Test Championship final in Southampton, the 24-member Indian squad is doing all they can to keep themselves well-oiled. While some are taking the indigenous road to keep fit, others are training with match simulations during their home isolation. The entire team will gather in Mumbai on May 19 to enter the two-week bio-bubble before leaving for the UK. And while their WTC opponents New Zealand will be gearing up for the showcase event with a two-Test series against England, Virat Kohli and boys will be in hard quarantine. This makes individual training even more important. But how are they training in the current situation and also taking all the necessary precautions?
– ICC WTC Final: Arzan Nagwaswalla practices Jasprit Bumrah style
Although a part of the reserve squad, Arzan is leaving no stones unturned in case an opportunity arrives. He is the first Parsi cricketer in nearly 50 years to make it to the senior team. Farokh Engineer was the last in 1975. The Gujarat-born pacer has taken inspiration from his Mumbai Indians teammate Jasprit Bumrah’s training method and has now inculcated it in his own training routine at home in Nargol.
He is trying to improve his pitching by bowling on a single wicket. Arzan says this has helped Bumrah a lot in improving his line and length. “After the training was over, Bumrah would train solo with just one stump. That really helped him in improving his line and length and also analyse the pitching of the ball. I have also started doing it now,” he told InsideSport.
However, training in the open won’t come easy for the young leg, who is now an idol for many aspiring cricketers in his district. The 23-year-old has nonetheless also found a way around it. “I have started training from 3 pm to 5 pm. After that, it’s the academy boys who train on the ground. In case they catch hold of me and ask why I ain’t training with them, I simply reply its BCCI protocol,” he added. Besides this, he also knows the importance of batting and has started working on that aspect of his game too.
– ICC WTC Final: Abhimanyu Easwaran training by stimulating England conditions
Abhimanyu has been part of India’s Test reserve squad in 2020 for England tour and therefore knows the playing conditions there. The 25-year-old, who captains the Bengal side in domestic cricket, trains early morning in order to make it as close as possible to the same situation as in the UK.
“I’ve played only white-ball cricket this season. Now, coming back to red-ball cricket, I sat down with my coach and discussed a few things. It’s more about being disciplined while batting, which we are working on,” he said emulating his training session, “Also, I’m having my training sessions here a little early in the morning in order to make it a bit more challenging for myself and try and make it as close as possible to the conditions I may face in England. There has been some rain here for the last two-three days which does have an effect on the conditions,” he added in conversation with InsideSport.
– ICC WTC Final: Avesh Khan working on fitness and mental health
Given the three-month-long tour, it will be necessary for players to be mentally fit to stay in a bio-bubble. Khan, who emerged as Delhi Capitals prime bowler this season, has been staying away from cricket. Instead, he has decided to work on his fitness and spend time with family.
“There’s always scope for improvement. At the moment, I’m not playing any cricket. Just working on my fitness and spending time with family. The BCCI has asked us to not step outside. The England tour is going to be long so I’m enjoying this time with my parents,” he told the Scroll.
- ICC WTC Final: Hanuma Vihari playing County Cricket
Vihari will be pivotal in India’s middle-order against New Zealand. The grit and determination he showed during the Australia series were inspiring. It would be something Kohli and Ravi Shastri would be expecting from the 27-year-old red-ball specialist. Out of everyone, Vihari will be most conditioned to England conditions given his participation in County Cricket with Warwickshire.
“It’s been challenging as it’s an early part of the season but I have gained good experience. Getting used to the climate and pitches here is the idea. Hope it helps during the WTC final against New Zealand and the series against England,” he told PTI.
- ICC WTC Final: Rishabh Pant goes back to roots
He would have been hitting sixes at will at this time of the year if the IPL 2021 had not been suspended but Rishabh Pant is keeping himself busy by mowing the lawn at his residence. As he prepares for the much-anticipated England tour, the India wicketkeeper-batsman has been keeping himself occupied by doing some garden work. Pant said he has been staying indoors in his forced break from competitive cricket and urged his fans and followers to stay indoors and safe as India has been badly hit by Covid-19 pandemic. “Ye Dil Mange “Mower”! Forced quarantine break but happy to be able to stay active while indoors. Please stay safe everyone,” Pant wrote on social media while sharing a video of his mowing duty.
India’s squad: Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli (Captain), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Umesh Yadav, KL Rahul (subject to fitness clearance), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper; subject to fitness clearance).
Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla