Synergy in Motion
Ray Jennings's charges hope to bring full intensity towards goals achievement
The Royal Challengers Bangalore hopped off to the National Cricket Academy’s grounds outside the M Chinnaswamy stadium for some intensive nets. Noticeable now is the meticulous planning and the choice of leveraging the coaches fully even though the training bunch is now pruned to 15 who comprise the squad for the Champions League 2011 and one or two probables who the management feels would be ready to step in if somebody is sidelined.
Head coach Ray Jennings insists on intensity of training and seven players went by the first bus to the grounds. Vijay Bharadwaj and Venkatesh Prasad were there to literally take the boys through their efforts and ensure sufficient throwdowns (batting practice to short-range throws) to leading batsmen like AB de Villiers, Saurabh Tiwary and bowling all-rounder Syed Mohammad.
After watching the first few batsmen getting ‘into the zone’ Ray went about organizing the fielding practice and was soon seen with Vijay and Venky discussing in what order they’d send the fielders individually. Venky spotted some net bowlers (promising bowlers of various local cricket clubs) who he figured could assist with their good throwing arms and soon had A Mithun and Mayank Agrawal scurry around picking up balls they had to chase in the event they couldn’t reach them fast enough to block.
Well, at this point it became quite obvious that the speed of our RCB players was helping them block more balls effectively than would be necessary to chase. It is specific drills that Strength and Conditioning Coach Basu has brought out that keep the RCB players motivated and of course, fleet of foot. A certain amount of power also provides synergy and one can see how the systematic gym sessions have giving players optimum scope instead sapping their muscle fibre with the age old refrain of “pushing harder” without set goals. Spot training, circuit training of a mild form and some variations are the highlight of some days’ training programs.
The big boys too limbered up – Dan Vettori, Dirk Nannes and of course Chris Gayle who didn’t fail to punish some of the local bowlers. Mithun had a long bowling session, Arvind ambled in effortlessly while Raju Bhatkal a pace bowler-allrounder tried to get his rhythm right with some practice bowling to a single stump but of course asking others to observe his action and report anything out of place.
Slim and fit as ever Mohammad Kaif enjoyed his batting session and reproduced some delightful fielding sights that display the predatory abilities of fielders of his calibre. One wonders where this early anticipation of the oncoming ball and discretion in attacking the right one comes from. A gift given? Or a gift developed? Anyway, here’s an example of an India international who although not finding a place in the national team has extended his career by remaining fit and maintaining the same standards in outcricket.
KB Arun Karthik, expected to perform a near ‘all-rounder’s’ role as wicket-keeper batsman in this tournament wore a supremely confident smile as he finished batting and headed off for some catching practice at the side. Asad Pathan had enjoyed a good outing in yesterday’s curtailed practice match by holding two catches and today, looked very keen to get a knock off throwdowns, but wanted them at full pitch (full toss). Well, these guys are smart enough to know that what seem like juicy balls are only too easy to hit straight to outfielders’ hands on the full. Therefore practice and eschewing of the boundary shot to all of them is good practice. Of course the majority of full tosses deserve to go for a six or a four but one mustn’t apply that to every ‘cherry’.
There finished another practice session, a good experience in the organized, yet amiable atmosphere of what is called the KSCA ‘B’ ground, the same as the National Cricket Academy’s (NCA). Anil Kumble, looking his dapper self, dropped by to ensure things were going to plan. The ‘heat’ is truly on in the considerably cooler climes of September’s Bengaluru. The coaches would be making a mental note of the results of other matches. Not to take anybody lightly would be a great way to enter this tournament. The rest will follow suit if one has the conviction.