In the lead-up to the highly anticipated ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, Virat Kohli and India are leaving no stone unturned. The team's recent training session in Chennai provided insights into their preparations, with a few key questions lingering in the air.
One significant departure from the usual routine was the closed-door nature of the practice. Typically, cricket teams don't go to such lengths to shield their preparations.
But this time, the Indian team chose to bar the media. This decision reflects the seriousness with which the team is approaching the World Cup, keeping their tactical plans under wraps.
Virat Kohli has extended net session
The center of attention during the training session was none other than the Indian skipper, Virat Kohli. After a brief hiatus, Kohli was back in action, and his extended net session signaled his determination to lead the team by example.
This extra effort from the captain indicates the team's urgency, especially considering they missed out on two warm-up games. Kohli will be a central figure in India's plans a the World Cup.
One of the burning questions ahead of the tournament is the composition of India's bowling attack. Will they opt for an extra seamer like Mohammed Shami, or will the spin maestro Ravichandran Ashwin make the cut?
With Hardik Pandya's ability to chip in with the ball, the team faces a tempting choice. Ashwin, known for his spin prowess, could prove to be a mind-boggling option against the Australians.
Kohli's dedication was evident as he spent an additional 45 minutes at the nets. The team understands the importance of simulating match situations, especially after missing out on the warm-up games.
Although Kohli didn't participate in the first two ODIs against Australia in the recent series, his solid 61-ball 56 in the final ODI showcased his form and determination.
Alongside Kohli, all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja, and left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav were also seen sweating it out during the practice session.
Jadeja's dual role as both bowler and batsman and Kuldeep's focus on spin options underline India's depth in their squad.
Rohit Sharma absent from training
However, the skipper-cum-opener Rohit Sharma was absent from the training session as he was attending a pre-competition press conference in Ahmedabad.
Rohit, aware of the immense pressure on his team playing on home soil, expressed his confidence in the squad's ability to clinch their third World Cup title. India had previously won the prestigious tournament in 1983 and 2011.
Despite the recent trend of host nations winning the World Cup, Rohit downplayed the idea of history repeating itself, emphasizing the need to stay focused and take one game at a time in the tournament's extended format.
Acknowledging the challenges ahead, Rohit emphasized the importance of preparing well and staying confident. He also stressed the need to handle pressure, which is an inherent part of any sport.
With both of India's warm-up fixtures being washed out, the team's opening match against Australia on October 8 in Chennai holds significant importance. India gears up for the home campaign hoping to break their recent trophy drought.
The closed-door practice session and the dedication of players like Kohli and Rohit signify their intent to bring the coveted trophy back home once again.