New Zealand XI v Indians, Whangarei, 2nd day

'Got what we wanted from practice game' - Rohit

Abhishek Purohit in Whangarei

February 3, 2014

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Rohit Sharma drives during his half-century, New Zealand XI v Indians, Whangarei, 2nd day, February 3, 2014
Rohit Sharma: "All the batsmen got in and made some runs, which is a good sign before a Test" © Getty Images
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  • India were tested with bouncers during the one-dayers and they will face more of the same in the Tests, New Zealand XI captain Anton Devcich feels. Getting some batting practice against the stuff from his young bowlers is what the visitors could take away from the practice match in Whangarei, Devcich said.
  • "We had a couple of tall pace bowlers who generated good bounce off the wicket," Devcich said. "The Indian guys have been found out with the short ball a little bit and I think they are going to cop a little bit more of that during the Test-match series. If they can take anything out of this [match], I would say [it is] playing the short ball.
  • "We have watched the TV just as you guys have and we have noticed that they have got out a lot pulling and hooking. So we thought we may as well test them out as well and see if they have done their work over the past few days. And they played it pretty well, to be fair, so credit to them."
  • When asked which Indian player stood out for him, Devcich mentioned Cheteshwar Pujara, who looked quite solid before falling for 33. "Pujara, he looks really organised and looked like he knew how he would like to play his play. He was really organised. We had to work really hard to even look like getting him out, so I think the Black Caps boys, we know [they] are going to have to work really hard, bowl really well and hopefully get him out early."

The New Zealand XI for the tour match against the Indians had only one international player in captain Anton Devcich, and the two-day affair would have meant little more than a centre-wicket practice opportunity in a game environment for the Indians. Rohit Sharma, their captain, was satisfied with what his side had been able to take out of the opportunity on a flat pitch. He said the fast bowlers had a good workout, and the batsmen also had a decent hit.

"We got what we wanted from this practice game," Rohit said. "All the batsmen got in and made some runs, which is a good sign before a Test. We are ready and both the batsmen and the bowlers got what they wanted from this match. I am happy with how things went in the last two days. We are looking good and raring to go for the Test."

The top order of M Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara all got starts but the highest anyone of them managed was 33. Rohit did not read too much into it. "I won't say it is disappointing. They had a decent outing in the middle. They got a feel. It is always disappointing to not get runs. It is not an issue. I am sure it is a matter of one good innings and things will change quickly. That is what I feel and I am sure those guys also feel the same."

Rohit said all his bowlers were able to get some overs in, and felt Ishwar Pandey's performance (3 for 42) stood out. "If you look at their bowling analysis, they probably bowled 15 overs each, which is pretty good on day one. We had to rotate the bowlers. We had to see all the fast bowlers who were in the squad.

"Pandey bowled really well. Given the conditions, he stuck to his plans which is why he got rewarded with three wickets. All the other three fast bowlers also did well. They did not get the wickets they wanted. But Pandey was the one who got really stuck there."

Rohit himself made 59 during a two-and-a-half-hour batting stint in the game and said he was feeling good about his game at the moment. "My state of mind is really good. Nothing to worry about. I am enjoying my game. It is a different ball-game now. The Tests are different. It was good to have got some hit before the Test. So looking forward to the first Test."

The Indians had only a day between the fifth ODI in Wellington and the tour game, and will have two days to travel to Auckland and get in some more practice ahead of the first Test. Rohit said one had to be mentally ready to deal with the hectic schedule, and that the Indians had been using the time they had between the one-dayers to work on their games.

"We got enough time during the one-dayers. We had three days [actually two] in between every ODI. Everyone used that time really well. They worked on what they wanted to work on. It is up to every individual how they want to prepare for a game. I might be different from someone else. Someone might be different from me.

"We have got to accept what is in front of us. We knew it was going to be very hectic. Mentally we have got to be ready and everyone is ready. It is all about how you adapt to all this mentally. Touch wood, there is no injury. We travel tomorrow, get a day off tomorrow and next day we might have practice before the Test. [That] is the only day we get to see what we can do.

"We got to get back together as soon as possible because there is only one day to have a good team session. There are two guys who are missing, MS and Virat. Hopefully, we can go to Auckland and get together. It is really important that we get together and play as a team."

Rohit said it was not going to be easy for a young India side, with many players touring New Zealand for the first time. "It is going to be a huge challenge playing away from home conditions. It is not that we have not done well outside. When we here last time we won the Tests and the ODIs. So that is the positive side we have to take. It is a young team. Lot of guys have come here for the first time. They are getting there. Everyone knows what needs to be done bowling on these pitches, what lengths, what line, what shots to play and what not to.

"Hopefully we will get a day in Auckland and we will go and see how the conditions are and prepare accordingly."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Naresh28 on (February 4, 2014, 10:02 GMT)

Agree with @Vishwas reddy and @nampally. A five bowler strategy is important to take wickets and win. Not 4 like in the SA match is not getting India anyway. Forget the shoring up the batting. Its the bowling that needs careful consideration. The Team composition is important. An allrounder is missing.

Posted by Santyment on (February 4, 2014, 9:47 GMT)

Very well done Pandey!! You were the find of India A tour of South Africa. Though underbowled ahead of Shami and Unadkat, you delivered with most wickets within 2-3 over spells you got and always was a partnership breaking bowler there... Favoritism for some players or not giving chance coz someone is new is hurting Indian cricket...I ll be happy to see you picked for first test as you delivered even after being fourth seamer, just imagine what harm you could do if given a new ball...Just dont lose heart if not selected for first test..keep up the spirit all the best...a big fan of you..

Posted by   on (February 4, 2014, 4:42 GMT)

I am waiting for the day when Indian team's bowling attack for tests in overseas would be.like 3-1-1 combination, 3 fast bowlers, 1 spinner, 1 medium pacer allrounder.... only this combination should be able to give you all 20 wickets in a test match.... unless you does that, you can't even think of drawing a tests match let alone winning.... we have have bowlers who takes 5 wicket hauls regularly, instead we need to think of sharing the wickets among Bowlers, 5 bowlers taking 20 wickets in not big deal in.helpful conditions....

Posted by elwarko on (February 4, 2014, 4:11 GMT)

Really looking forward to this, should be an excellent test to gauge how NZ are progressing in whites. Hoping for a 2-0 (to NZ) scoreline, so we get more tests in the shaky isles.

Posted by ProdigyA on (February 4, 2014, 1:11 GMT)

With so much of short ball practice before the world cup....it can only mean good sign for the Indian team.

Posted by   on (February 3, 2014, 23:33 GMT)

I really hope Ashwin gets into the test team somehow. His one day bowling has been a big problem but his stats in tests are remarkable. Using his stats he is clearly the best all-rounder in the world at the moment as he averages over 40 with 2 hundreds and with the ball he has been the fastest to hundred wickets in a century. His overseas record might not be flash but he bowled a lot better than his figure suggested in the first game of the SA series. I hope we stop looking at him as a pure bowler and look at him as a genuine all rounder in tests as he looks comfortable overseas against the short ball. A really brave move would be to drop Rahane (Ashwin scored more runs in one innings than Rahane did in the entire ODI series), and bat Ashwin at 6. Dhoni and Jadeja can follow meaning we bat till 8. Using Ashwin at 7 and 8 seriously undermines his batting ability, and as a test bowler he is simply superb.

Posted by time2goback2dbasics on (February 3, 2014, 23:00 GMT)

remove rohit/nohit sharma.he is panauti for indian team,according to some mindless people he is "raw talent".this guy is still raw after 100 match.may be he needs 1000000000 matches to prove himself.dhoni will never oppose this team becoz this rubbish team is his own creativity.looks like a political team rather than a cricket.with these jokers we are going no where,remember last tour of newzealand..what a hammering by india and this time get hammered..all over world.losing interest day by day..sorry to say.cricinfo please publish.

Posted by jango_moh on (February 3, 2014, 22:52 GMT)

lol @ all the childish remarks here about rohit talking to media etc.... some of us indian fans just type without thinking??? i believe this test team has a bunch of good young players, and it should be a good experience for them.....

Posted by   on (February 3, 2014, 22:10 GMT)

the first question is that, is ashwin really deserve for a place in international cricket?

Posted by Unmesh_cric on (February 3, 2014, 20:36 GMT)

Has anyone noticed that Rohit always scores runs when he is captaining the side? In a way Rohit Sharma is a strange batsman. On some days he struggles against all bowlers, even mediocre ones. On other days, he plays wonderful shots all across the ground. Sometimes yon can see both "struggling Rohit" and "elegant Rohit" combined in one inning. I personally feel he should play positively; that's when he plays the best. When he goes in a shell, that's when he struggles. The only thing he needs to sort out is the out-swinging delivery around the off-stump. He needs to cover the line of the ball better, like Kohli does. Whether Kohli leaves the ball around the off-stump or plays a cover drive, he is right on top of the ball while Rohit stays beside the line of the ball. This is calling for trouble in overseas conditions. Otherwise Rohit plays the balls aimed at his body pretty well, including bouncers.

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