Yusuf falls short, Upton steals the show
A day after a comprehensive victory over Pakistan on Tuesday, the majority of the Indian team chose to relax at the team hotel. Only six squad members – Yusuf Pathan, Robin Uthappa, RP Singh, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ohja and Manpreet Gony – turned up at the Shere Bangla Stadium along with the support staff.
Uthappa, who was benched against Pakistan, and Yusuf, who made just 3 on debut, batted for a considerable time in the nets. Towards the end of Yusuf’s stint, Prasad set an imaginary field and laid down the equation: ten runs off eight balls. Yusuf pushed the first towards the off side, missed the second from Ishant and played the third back towards Gony. He failed to connect with a few more and it came down to eight off two balls.
Yusuf then drove Robin Singh hard towards cover. Prasad, the stand-in umpire, shouted four but reduced it to two after Robin protested. With six needed off one ball, Yusuf struck Ishant flat and hard towards cover but with no elevation to clear the boundary.
Over at another net, Gony practiced catching off his own bowling. He would run in and deliver a ball towards Prasad, who had a bat and another ball in his hand. He would let Gony’s deliveries go through to mental conditioner Paddy Upton, who was keeping wicket with a baseball mitt.
The moment the ball passed Prasad, he would hit the one in his hand towards Gony, who’d attempt to take the catch. He took several sharp ones during the session but then again he was expecting every ball to come back at him. The key will be to carry that expectation into every delivery he bowls in a match.
After the bowlers had also had their batting practice, Upton put on pads, gloves and grabbed a bat. However, instead of heading into the net he jogged out of the gate and returned dressed as a riot policeman. He was wearing a thick protective jacket - I’m not sure whether it was bulletproof - and a motorcycle crash helmet. Now unafraid of bodily injury, and to the amusement of several watchers, Upton played three deliveries off the middle of his bat.
One person wasn’t amused though. The security guard, presumably whose jacket Upton had borrowed, was urging the cameramen not to shoot - he feared he would get into trouble for lending his jacket for such a purpose.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo