With not even a month left for World T20, the Indian team has requested the cricket board that they want their practice sessions to be scheduled in evening under lights, and that they don’t want to catch early morning flights. The request was made after team’s return from Australia as the management wants the players to get used to the evening schedule for next one month since the World Cup matches will be held at that time of the day.
In Australia, where they played five ODIs and three T20s, India had conducted their training sessions in daytime. Not even once did they practice under lights. “They want few changes in practice schedule. The team does not want to practice in mornings or afternoons as they will be playing all their games in evening. So in order to prepare for the T20 World Cup, they have requested the board to have their practice sessions in evenings and if possible under lights. All these things are part of preparations,” a source told The Indian Express.
There are cricketing reasons, apart from adjusting the body clock to the match timings and preparing oneself physically for the games. According to medium pacer Praveen Kumar, who had played for India not too long ago, the practice sessions in the evenings help players adjust to the swinging ball. Kumar reckons the ball swings more in the evenings and it makes sense for both bowlers and batsmen to get used to it by training accordingly. Kumar believes that practice sessions held in the afternoons don’t create conditions for the ball to swing, and hence are not suitable for India’s preparation.
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Eight seasons of IPL have already helped the players get used to playing regularly under lights, says Kumar. “IPL has made things easy now. In two months we play IPL games in evening, sometimes in hot conditions too. The Indian team is not short of experience in T20 games. The only thing which they will try to tackle is playing the swinging ball. It usually happens for the first five overs of the game — ball swings a lot in evening conditions,” the UP pacer says.
Incidentally, in the first T20 game against Sri Lanka that they lost, India ran into trouble in conditions that favoured some seam and swing movement. India folded up for just 101, and were reduced to 7 for 58 at one stage.
The team’s request to train in the evenings has to be viewed in this context. Kumar says that evening sessions will give them the idea about how pitch and weather will behave. “The way Indian players are playing things won’t be tough. Look at how Rohit and Shikhar are playing. Rohit swing ke sath maar raha hai. Much will depend on the start the openers give as international teams will come hard at you at the start,” he opined. “A total like 170 is a winning and defendable score in T20. The key is to get two batsman out in first six overs, which will keep the game tight till 10 overs. If pitch is slow then a score of 130 could be enough,” he said.
However, different kinds of floodlights too test players. Playing in Mohali can be tough as players find the floodlights, which are lower than those found in other venues, difficult to adjust to, hence making it difficult to judge the ball. Pravin Amre, former India player who is with Delhi Daredevils these days, says, “You play in Mohali or CCI , the lights are different from stadium to stadium. Players do find it tough to judge the ball. If the team practices there for a few days then it will help.”