There were no definite cues but it seemed like an audition when the struggling K L Rahul and the much younger Shubam Gill batted simultaneously during a training session on Monday ahead of the third Test against Australia.
Stripped of India vice-captaincy following his prolonged lean patch in the five-day format, Rahul put in the hard yards in what could possibly be the final training session before the game, beginning Wednesday. The selection of Rahul, who averages an ordinary 33.44 after 47 Tests, at the expense of Gill, who is a superstar in the making, has divided opinions in the cricketing fraternity.
Both batted in adjacent nets for around 30 minutes under the supervision of head coach Rahul Dravid. Rahul has got an extended run as the team management has immense faith in his abilities but with every failure, the pressure is mounting on the stylish opener. Gill, on the other hand, has had a coming-of-age season across formats and his supporters, which include former cricketers, believe there is no better time to draft him into the playing eleven. While Gill was more attacking in his approach, Rahul bided his time and focused on his defence.
Rahul left and blocked the first 18 balls he faced before practicing the aerial hits down the ground off spinners. He then traded places with Gill to face R Ashwin and there also, he looked to play everything with a straight bat. Before batting alongside Rahul, Gill was the first member of the team to hit the nets as other underwent warm-up and fielding drills.
After their stint in the main nets, both Gill and Rahul moved to the other side of the ground to face a few throwdowns.
Rohit, Kohli bat aggressively in their own way ============================ Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli looked in fine touch in the Delhi Test but were not able to convert starts. Walking into the nets together, the star batters displayed an aggressive approach against the spinners. While Kohli targetted the straight boundaries against left-arm spinners, Rohit played strokes all over including the pull, sweep and reverse sweep.
After he was done bowling, Ashwin, who has been brilliant with both bat and ball in the series, worked on his sweeping skills in the centre square.
Axar Patel, who has excelled as a batter in the first two Tests, also faced throw downs with full intensity.
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