The Indian cricket team’s immediate opponent may be Bangladesh but it has already started homework on how to face the world’s best left-arm quick bowler Mitchell Starc as Australia come calling in two weeks’ time.
That’s one of the primary reasons for keeping the lanky Rajasthan left-arm pacer Aniket Chaudhary in the mix.
With his height and the decent pace that he works up, Aniket can bring in more quality as a net bowler and can create those typical awkward left-armer’s angles to the right- handed batsmen — something which Starc is capable of doing at a better level.
Aniket had recently performed well for India A, taking four wickets in the warm-up game against Bangladesh.
With India’s specialist batsmen being right-handers, Aniket was roped in during the New Zealand series where Kohli and Co successfully countered left-armer Trent Boult’s swing.
Shooting target to hit ‘top of off’ In his autobiography, Matthew Hayden recollected an Australian team meeting where Glenn McGrath would be asked about his strategy.
His answer would be ‘top of Off’, which means keeping it right on top of off stump channel, making it difficult for batsmen to leave. It’s boring but an extremely difficult art – hitting the channel delivery after delivery.
No wonder the Indian coaching staff employed another innovative target practice. Adjacent to the match strip, two plastic stumps were put – off and leg stump.
On top of off-stump, a square box was fixed in which a circular shooter’s target was painted. The ‘Bull’s Eye’ was located at a position that is exactly six inches above off-stump.
In fact, it was Ravichandran Ashwin, who hit the box with a delivery that turned back sharply.
The Indian team is no stranger to innovative bowling practice methods.
During the 2014 World T20 in Bangladesh, the Indian team had got a 10 feet mannequin resembling a batsmen as pacers were told to pitch deliveries on a particular length.