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Indian batsmen on 'aerial' mode ahead of England tie

Last updated on: September 21, 2012 19:00 IST

Booming drives, ferocious cuts and lofted shots were the order of the day at the Indian team's training session on Friday, as batsmen concentrated on taking the aerial route after a subdued start against Afghanistan in the World Twenty20.

If one takes a close look at the Indian batting card in their opening game against Afghanistan, the champions of the 2007 edition could hit only four sixes, and that too against an inexperienced attack.

Virat Kohli hit two while there was just one each for Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Kohli's second six, in fact, could have ended in a catch had the fielder stationed at deep mid-wicket not made a mess of it.

No wonder, each and every batsman decided to go all out during the grueling, three-hour training session at the P Sara Oval ground in Colombo, two days ahead of the big-ticket encounter against defending champions England.

Mahendra Singh DhoniFrom Gautam Gambhir to Irfan Pathan, everyone seemed to be in a mood to clear the ropes whether it was facing the bowlers at the nets or while receiving throw downs.

It seemed the aim was to compensate for the lack of big ones against the minnows the other night.

In contrast, the Indian bowlers again looked lacklustre, as Zaheer Khan, L Balaji and Irfan Pathan were taken to the cleaners by Dhoni and company.

The drill was simple -- each and every batsman faced throw downs from Trevor Penney and Joe Dawes before going to the nets. The instructions seemed to be clear -- go for the maximum.

While the batsmen played the big shots, the bowlers looked like going through the motions.

Zaheer, who has copped a lot of flak of late for being out of sorts, wasn't in his element.

'Zak', as he is popularly known in the dressing room, was singled out by Dhoni, who tried his trademark 'helicopter shot' time and again.

One wondered whether the Indian captain would promote himself up the order, since he had an extended session – the longest among all the batsmen. Even the press box at the P Sara bore the brunt of Dhoni's brute power, as one of his shots damaged its front glass.

The in-form Kohli did not spare the veteran pacer, for whom nothing seems to be going right these days.

Yuvraj had a sore throat and was rested, while Suresh Raina opted out of the session because of a stomach bug.

The English team, however, had a different session at the Nondescripts Cricket Club on Thursday. The batsmen seemed to be in a 'spin mode', hoping to counter Ravichandran Ashwin and Co on Sunday.

Just like Graham Gooch practiced against former Mumbai left-arm spinner Ravi Thakkar ahead of the 1987 Reliance Cup semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium to counter Maninder Singh's threat, the English batsmen were seen trying to negotiate all the off-spinners who turned up at the nets.

Skipper Stuart Broad, however, decided to keep the cards close to his chest when asked about the decision to only face spinners at the nets.

"Spin is a factor but it won't be the only factor," Broad stated.

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