RCB's convergence act: A practice session review
The fresh RCB team's bonding well and amidst a hard practice session, celebrate Chris Gayle's birthday
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A completely earth shattering practice session took place at the M Chinnaswamy stadium here on Wednesday. If the new age maxim of “ ’practice doesn’t make perfect’ but ‘perfect practice does makes perfect’ “ (quite a tongue twister too!) is needed, an example was today. Again two batches of players went, one at 10:00 am and the second at 11:30.
Baize Blazer Tiwary
Mayank Agrawal and Saurabh Tiwary took first strike at the NCA ground, posing a handsome left right combination but in different nets! Saurabh’s scorching on drives was the stuff of champions, only this time he chose classic straight-batted ones that grazed the grass. Definitely some electricity could have been harnessed as the ball fizzed along the green baize. Yes, one thing fans do experience when watching batsmen on TV is the sound of the bat hitting the ball hard, thanks to stump microphones and Kerry Packer for innovating them. However, it takes a net session to experience the sound of ball grazing grass.
Crouching Tiger Mayank
Mayank as usual looked his ebullient self and cut and drove fluently, while not hesitating to bring off some masterful pulls. His low crouching stance reminds one of a yesteryear Indian star, Mohinder Amarnath, slated now to become the new chairmen of selectors. Hope young Mayank borrows his many qualities, courage being one among them but of course the young Karnataka player is already looking good. Venky Prasad stood by the pitch and sent throwdowns in the midst of other bowlers and net bowlers coming in with their full run-ups. He’s careful not to exert his back and is also a much needed man in the coaching world who has to keep himself fit. Well, we at RCB need him, so stay good Venky!
Arun Karthik and Raju Bhatkal went to a side and the latter offered to hit him some hard catches to which the RCB gloveman jumped at the opportunity. Shortly Ray Jennings joined them and asked Raju to catch a few so as to set an example. The stocky pace bowler gladly obliged here too and became the gleeful target of low catches which he held to both sides.
Karthik (most call him ‘KB’ because of the initials prefixed to his full name) then donned another set of pads, this time to bat and was soon in the far net, his fast hands and non complicated hitting methods standing out.
---------- Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_XNEN9xpV8 to see how this happened so far!---------------
Birthday boy Chris
The next big event was the birthday bash of Chris Gayle. Well, not technically a bash because serious net practice was on. But then you could definitely take five minute off for one of RCB’s favourite sons, right? Chris arrived on the second bus trip and was immediately wished and whisked away to the pavilion where a cake cutting ceremony meant that much of the cake was smeared on his face. Some RCBians had organized it well enough to have brought a fresh bath towel for Chris to wipe it all off. Some clowning around, this, but everybody’s wishes were genuine.
Chris then asked Dan Vettori to join him on the opposite side of his three-a-side football team and they dribbled around. Mohammad Kaif guarded the goal but of course, there was no strict goalkeeper in this warm-up game; he was more like a fullback who went back on the goal line when the opposition was converging in. Another good thing about these modern day methods of warming up is that they’re natural and help team bonding, while serving as a healthy, natural distraction.
Next, Chris, Dan, Dirk, Arvind and Mithun went inside the Chinnaswamy stadium for a set of nets that had been arranged there. Who else but Chris took strike first. One notices that his backfoot lofted straight drives go for effortless sixes whereas lesser players (agreeably in another era where the ‘tools of the job’ were heavy) would have been happy to see that off their advancing drives to the spinners. To Chris, pacer and spinners all come alike. And go alike to the farther tiers in the stands!
----------- Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmY2otKIonc to see how it happened thus far!-----------------
Catches with Vijay
At one side, Syed Mohammad, Mayank Agrawal and Arun Karthik joined Talent Scout and assisting coach Vijay Bharadwaj for high-catches practice. Vijay spoke to them about the option of staying slightly side on and ‘letting the softness of the elbows’ prevent the ball from spilling out. Eagerly, his charges tried it out to good results. Vijay also stressed on the ‘dominant hand’, the right hand for right-handers and left for left-handers, which does a lot of work, therefore, must be used with discretion. Good technical points and food for thought.
Back to the nets, AB de Villiers was batting and at the start of the pace bowlers’ run-ups, Dirk Nannes was passing on valuable tips to S Arvind, another left-arm bowler, on bowling the deceptive slow ball. “Try to release it from the side,” was one option offered by the multi-talented Aussie who added “It’s up to you to play around with it until you get it right your way.” Later he grinned after Arvind sent down a satisfactory delivery “Now, that was good. I could hear your wrist doing the work.!” Way to go Aussie!
Mithun too bowled, his distinct follow-through and incisive action making viewing a pleasure. Moreover to see three top bowlers (Mithun, Dirk and Arvind) starting their run-ups and bowling to Chris and AB was a pleasure. Many of the labourers in the stands stopped their work to watch the happenings but of course, their supervisor soon hounded them back to work.
Javagal Srinath, a yesteryear Indian international and pace bowling spearhead passed by and complimented Mithun on his accuracy. ‘Sri’ is the secretary of the influential Karnataka State Cricket Association and along with Kumble forms a formidable pair to run cricket in the state, where developing talent at the grassroots level and spreading its reach to mofussil areas is a priority. The guidance and patronage of these ex players allows for a smooth transition for many upcoming youngsters.
AB de Villiers, a superbly talented batsman who you’d want to bat for your life soon showed his mastery. AB’s technique seems in its own way simple, yet the versatility and power he packs are to be experienced to be believed. Preferably ‘experience’ them as a bowler, but you’d be looking skywards more every time you bowl! Not to forget this man is the closest in the RCB team that you can get to legendary fielder Jonty Rhodes, along with Mohammad Kaif although of course he’s the number one wicket-keeper for the franchise.
------- Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxkZJD-cbbE to see how this happened! --------------------
The entire ‘convergence’ process of the RCB lads has been terrific, thanks to a growing team spirit since this new bunch came together in the January-February 2011 auction for IPL. These fantastic ambassadors of the game will be together for a total of three years. They’ve set their targets firmly on victory. One point of view held by some is “We must train and co-ordinate so well that winning becomes a habit and it is losing, perish the word, that actually requires effort!” Best of luck RCB and thanks to you fans for reaching out.