Dravid and co inspect the Wankhede pitch as India gears up for World Cup semi-final against New Zealand
As the highly anticipated World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand draws near, the coaching staff, led by Rahul Dravid, intensively inspects the Wankhede Stadium pitch.
Rahul Dravid and his coaching team, including Vikram Rathour, Paras Mhambrey, and T Dilip, inspected the Wankhede Stadium pitch in preparation for the India vs New Zealand World Cup semi-final. India's coaching staff, keen on maintaining an impeccable record in the tournament, immediately got to work upon their arrival in Mumbai on Monday afternoon. The team, led by head coach Rahul Dravid, assessed the pitch at Wankhede Stadium in anticipation of their crucial semi-final clash against New Zealand, the rusty yet formidable opponents.
Despite India's unbeaten status, they refrained from training on Monday, having concluded their league stage campaign with a convincing 160-run victory over the Netherlands the previous night. In contrast, New Zealand engaged in a three-hour training session under lights, aiming to address recent flaws and enhance their performance.
Although New Zealand's initial four consecutive victories served as a warning to other teams in the World Cup, a series of losses in their last five matches tempered their momentum. Their win against Sri Lanka secured a spot in the semi-finals, where they face the formidable Indian team.
Arriving in the city a day ahead of their semi-final rivals, New Zealand faces the challenge of elevating their intensity. Despite being regular participants in the ODI World Cup semi-finals, the Kiwis have encountered issues such as collective form, player injuries, and the loss of key players like Matt Henry due to a hamstring injury. Henry, who played a crucial role with 11 wickets in seven matches, was replaced by Kyle Jamieson, who, despite being part of the pre-tournament series, did not feature in the league stage.
Jamieson, looking to build on his workload, had an extended bowling stint during Monday's preparations. The focus was primarily on the batters, engaging in extensive net sessions and participating in intra-squad football. Rachin Ravindra, among the tournament's leading run-scorers, had a productive net session alongside captain Kane Williamson, opening partner Devon Conway, and Daryl Mitchell.
Fast bowlers Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Lockie Ferguson also had a bowling session at Wankhede Stadium, where New Zealand is set to play their first game of the World Cup. Following the practice, Ravindra and Mitchell returned to the nets for bowling, while Williamson spent considerable time shadow batting outside one of the nets, closely monitoring the proceedings.