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IND vs AUS 2022-23: Rahul Dravid spends time with Shubman Gill; domestic off-spinners sweat at nets

IND vs AUS 2022-23: As India prepares for the four Tests against Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Rahul Dravid has devoted time to Shubman Gill, while domestic off-spinners have worked extra hard with the Indian batters at the nets.

IND vs AUS, India vs Australia, Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23: Rahul Dravid spends time with Shubman Gill; domestic off-spinners sweat at nets-ayh
First Published Feb 7, 2023, 7:05 PM IST

There is every possibility that the strategy to prepare rank turners for demolishing Australia could backfire, which is why most of the Indian batters committed themselves to doubles shift in the nets against slow bowlers ahead of the series-opener. Steve O'Keefe, the forgotten man of Australian cricket, had one good show against India in Pune six summers back when a snake pit of a 22-yard boomeranged badly on the hosts, giving the left-arm spinner 12 of his 35 Test wickets in a single game.

If that wasn't enough, Lyon asked many questions in the next Test in Bengaluru. On Tuesday, the Indian team had as many as nine specialist spinners -- four in the main squad and five from domestic and India A fringes helping the batters out. While Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav would like to conserve energy for the big five days, there were off-spinners Pulkit Narang and Jayant Yadav along with leg-spinner Rahul Chahar and left-arm orthodox Ravisrinivas Sai Kishore and Saurabh Kumar who did bulk of the job.


The need for good off-break bowlers in domestic cricket is evident. Narang and India international Jayant, who aren't even in the top 10 domestic wicket-takers, are being called for simulation. While Jalaj Saxena continues being ignored, Jayant's presence shows Lyon is very much in India's head.

"The things that we have worked on is playing spin, and we know the pitches will play here in India and what to expect. Keeping that in mind, we have practised playing spin," vice-captain KL Rahul gave a sneak peek into the team's preparation in the lead-up. While Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli did play the sweep shot, Cheteshwar Pujara was more intent on negating the off-breaks with a giant forward stride.


"Each person has their plans. Everybody wants to play a certain way, or everyone has their own way, which has been discussed with the coaches. We have discussed this as a batting group to try and play spin better," said the Indian vice-captain. Head coach Rahul Dravid devoted considerable time with Gill and explained the various methods to keep the sweep down with some shadow batting.

Dravid showed Gill how he could avoid offering a catch to forward short leg or leg gully if there is a big turn on offer. Gill later saw himself standing at forward short leg with fielding coach T Dileep giving him close in catching practice. The team combination isn't being spelt out, but Gill, amid a purple patch, will have to make way for Rahul at the top.

ALSO READ: IND vs AUS 2022-23, 1st Test - KL Rahul admits 'temptation' to play three spinners against Australia at Nagpur

However, with a dry patch on one side of the track, the ball will do its bit from day one itself, and a good wicketkeeper will be need of the hour. KS Bharath, who had once shown admirable skills keeping up to veteran all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin on a low bounce Green Park track in Kanpur, is likely to get his maiden Test cap. However, young opener Ishan Kishan remains an exciting left-hand option.

Kishan hadn't kept for his Ranji Trophy side in the past two seasons (Kumar Kushagra Kept for Jharkhand in red ball even when Kishan played), but he has donned the big gloves for a considerable time. One slot that will be the toughest to decide on is the choice between Kuldeep and Axar. The latter's batting prowess in the lower order could tilt the scales in his favour. Remember that on turners, Axar is as lethal as Jadeja.

(With inputs from PTI)

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