Eagle-eye training supervision
RCB goes through an all-round practice session at the National Cricket Academy grounds
The National Cricket Academy ground played host to Royal Challengers Bangalore’s practice session on Tuesday, 27th September. Again the team management broke it up into two batches, the first one starting at 9:30 am and the second, an hour later. RCB chief mentor Anil Kumble too was present and this time in team flannels and sure enough, he did bowl. Many of the youngsters in the RCB squad were delighted to have the senior statesman tipping them off, and of course the bowlers were gleeful to be able to exchange quick notes at the start of their run-ups.
Saurabh Tiwary and Mayank Agrawal had a ‘first bat’ at the adjacent nets while Syed Mohammad, Asad Pathan and Rajoo Bhatkal and S Arvind employed their wares in bowling. Saurabh as usual launched into firm drives off the hapless junior net bowlers who had been selected from cricket academies and clubs to bowl to their idols. Mayank rose to the occasion and cut and pulled in his own easy style. Syed Mohammad too enjoyed a batting session.
Shortly, Chris Gayle, Dirk Nannes, Daniel Vettori, Mohammad Kaif, A Mithun and AB de Villiers arrived at the nets and started up with some warm-up football. Saurabh too joined them after his batting session and teamed up with Chris Gayle, AB and Kaif, everybody thoroughly enjoying the good weather. The mood is slowly building up towards the next match two days later on 29th September against Kolkata Knight Riders. Ray emphasised that he wanted a good fielding effort because there was an earlier case in the history of the franchise where the fielding didn’t keep up to the standards and things started slipping away, until timely services were restored and the team ended up with a good run.
“Players must stay connected, like for instance when judging high catches, you might do everything right but at the point of contact you might falter,” said the wizened South African coach. He backed the batting as being their main strength, the bowling their second but was confident the efforts the lads put in would bring in top notch cricket in the outfield. He spoke about the game being divided into three parts for which the players had to regularly refocus. “The first six overs, the next six and the last six,” said Ray while adding that trying the tactic of bowling Daniel Vettori in the beginning may be a good one but someone has to control the next two parts. He reflected that RCB did a good job to contain the Warriors in the 6th to 10th overs in the previous match, but after Dan came off in the 13th or 14th over, “the game ran from us.”
Asked about the low scoring match between Trinidad and Tobago (98) and the Mumbai Indians (99 off 20 overs) at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and whether it was any indication of the pitch, Ray said it was merely poor batting and that we could look forward to setting a big score at the same venue or restricting the opposition to a modest one. About the day’s practice planning, he indicated that the two groups had been created so that the top four batsmen from each group got the right focus. “The bowlers will be ‘drilled’ into the right areas.” Let’s hope the effort bears fruit.