Derbyshire v Indians, Tour match, Derby June 30, 2014

Indians prepare for another gentle workout


Just a week ago, Rahul Dravid was a former India captain and a cricket pundit. He was speaking about the need for intense and competitive warm-up games. Although Dravid mentioned only the recent trend of counties putting up their 2nd XIs, it has not helped that India insist on using their whole squad as opposed to picking an XI, robbing these matches of their first-class status. A week later, Dravid is now part of the support staff, a batting consultant in the lead-up to the first Test, which begins in Nottingham on July 9.

Dravid's presence in Derby on the eve of the warm-up game against Derbyshire is unlikely to make the game any more intense. India will play all their 18 players, with only 11 batting and 11 on the field at any given time, and the game is against Derbyshire, who might not need to play a second team to bring the intensity down: they are a place from the bottom of the second division, lost three players last week, and were pummeled by Durham in a Twenty20 on Sunday.

Yet there is an incentive for India to get their intensity up. In their previous tour game, against Leicestershire, who are placed bottom of Division Two, their bowlers conceded 349 for 5 in 62 overs. Two of the five wickets were "retired out". Ishant Sharma and Pankaj Singh were the only two to get wickets. Even as the pressure grows on England after their defeat to Sri Lanka, the focus in the visitors' camp is squarely on their bowlers.

With these quick bowlers, much maligned and missing their bowling captain Zaheer Khan, the intensity was high during India's only training session between the two tour games, on Monday. The lot of them reported at the ground an hour before the rest of the team, along with Duncan Fletcher-led support staff, Dravid and Cheteshwar Pujara. There were no batsmen to bowl to, but the purpose of coming early was to put them through an endurance test. All of them had to do five laps of the ground, without stopping to catch a breath or walking in between before picking up again. Times were kept, charts prepared for Fletcher to examine properly. Almost all of the bowlers seemed winded by the effort. There was no respite, though: after a break for lunch and a team meeting, they went through a full bowling session at the nets.

Mohammed Shami, though, was not part of the endurance test as he worked separately with physio Evan Speechly and strength and conditioning coach Sudarshan VP. His workout was not nearly as intense as the others', he didn't bowl much, but there were no injury concerns to report. Shikhar Dhawan, who had taken a blow and retired hurt in Leicester, was back fit too.

After this game, India move to Nottingham for their preferred mode of preparation, four days of intense training sessions, before the series begins.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • IndTheBest on July 1, 2014, 15:53 GMT

    Totally agree with @Night.angel. Pankaj Singh is probably most experienced as far the First Class cricket is. He could easily lead the bowling attack if needed. He has out performed other bowlers in both the tour games. Dhoni must go with 5 bowlers if he wants to get any chance of winning. Two spinners are waste in Eng. We must go with one spinner and one fast bowling allrounder in Binny. Batsman have to be more responsible to content and get respected total on board.

  • Bhavishya on July 1, 2014, 15:41 GMT

    I don't think we can expect anything from Indian bowlers. The onus is on Indian batsmen like Pujara and Kohli to make sure that India draws at least few of the tests to avoid another whitewash.

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    Wes Durston: 82 runs in 76 balls? Is this an ODI?

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2014, 15:26 GMT

    Bhuvi : 9 overs & 16 runs. Ishant, the same number of 9 overs and 41 runs. Nice contrast!

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    Oh, No! Now old man Durston has taken on Pankaj Singh too... the one we thought had a measure of the English conditions from the first match itself !

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2014, 15:06 GMT

    Except Ishant & Binny, all the other bowlers have so far maintained an economy rate acceptable to the long format. Of course, one has to discount the fact that it is against the 2nd bottom-most team, that too in the second division among the counties.

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2014, 15:01 GMT

    Old Man Wesley John Durston (age 33 years 268 days) is hitting our young bowlers, as if it is an ODI, with a strike rate above 88 !

  • Dummy4 on July 1, 2014, 14:56 GMT

    @Nerav on (July 1, 2014, 14:31 GMT)

    Our memories are quite intact. Last time both our batsmen AND bowlers failed, with a few honorable exceptions. Including the temporary recruit from his American vacation... Sri Rudra Prasad Singh!

    Thankfully, one of those exceptions have joined these young boys. And both the young batsmen and bowlers can benefit by taking in his advice.

  • Nerav on July 1, 2014, 14:31 GMT

    I can believe peoples memories are so short. Last time in England we had a injured Zaheer with no back up, genuine medium pacer Praveen Kumar and had Dhoni give up the gloves and bowl. We STILL TOOK WICKETS. The problem was the batsmen not be able to play against a moving ball. Only Dravid could score runs(if im not mistaken he was the only one to score a century in the tests). Lets remember last time India lost in England it was the batsmen not the bowlers. And we have seen sri lanks bowlers take apart the English batting line up, Wouldnt say they were all that fast but put the ball in the right place. Our batsmen need to learn how to leave balls and play the right ones.

  • Bis on July 1, 2014, 14:22 GMT

    Ashwin and Shami are not doing any bowling - does this mean they are already picked for the first test (or that they are ruled out) ?! ;-)

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