India’s top-order batters Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Shreyas Iyer did not attend the optional training session on Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium ahead of their World Cup 2023 match against Sri Lanka. India will take on the former champions in a repeat of the 2011 World Cup final at the iconic venue on Thursday, November 2.
It was Shreyas Iyer who was in focus at the training session, which was keenly overseen by head coach Rahul Dravid. Despite having been one of the most consistent batters in ODIs for India in the last few years, Iyer has not lived up to expectations, managing just 134 runs in 6 matches. Opposition teams have targeted him with the short balls – a weakness that the Mumbai batter has tried to manage without much success.
In fact, in the ongoing tournament, Shreyas Iyer has been dismissed 3 times by short deliveries. During India’s comfortable victory over England in Lucknow, Iyer played a premeditated short to a short delivery from Chris Woakes only to top-edge it to the mid-on fielder.
As it turns out, Shreyas Iyer nearly spent two hours on a hot afternoon at the Wankhede Stadium’s practice pitches where he has grown up honing his skills.
Shreyas Iyer started by facing some local net bowlers to begin with, the focus point of the session soon turned into having Iyer facing innumerable short balls hurled at him by India’s throwdown specialists D Raghavendra, the left-handed Sri Lankan Nuwan Seneviratne and batting coach Vikram Rathour.
Shreyas Iyer batted on both ends of the practice pitch while sporting a chest guard. Toward the end of the training session, head coach Rahul Dravid also gave him some throwdowns, which included deliveries to drive.
Notably, former India opener Gautam Gambhir assessed that Shreyas Iyer has become a compulsive puller, saying that the Mumbai star needs to choose his pull shots wisely.
“See, practicing in the nets doesn’t mean he becomes compulsive. Somewhere I see, he is becoming compulsive. He is actually waiting only for the short ball, rather than looking to go forward and then try and pull it,”Gambhir told Star Sports after India’s win over England.
All-rounder Shardul Thakur also sweated it out in a long batting session at the nets in Mumbai while Ravindra Jadeja, who is yet to light up the tournament with his bat, practiced power hitting, facing off-spinner R Ashwin who also padded up and batted in the nets.
KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, and Ishan Kishan also batted at the nets as they kept themselves in touch ahead of India’s next game against Sri Lanka.
India will have a full-fledged training session on the eve of the match under the lights. The team is scheduled to train from 6 pm to 9 pm IST while Sri Lanka will train in the afternoon on Wednesday.