Virat Kohli looked a million dollars as he did extensive simulation for South Africa’s left-arm pacer Nandre Burger but Shreyas Iyer’s problems seemed to continue while facing a barrage of short balls at nets on Monday. On the New Year’s Day, it was business as usual for Kohli, who had an extended session lasting close to an hour. First, he was at the centre nets against bowlers and then he faced high-intensity throwdowns for about 20 to 25 minutes at outside nets. Kohli is known to come to nets with specific purpose and on Monday, it seemed he wanted to extensively bat against a left-arm pacer. Since the Indian team’s pace bowling roster doesn’t include a left-armer, a net bowler was summoned and Kohli faced a good 25 to 30 deliveries from him in between playing against Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, R Ashwin and Avesh Khan.
Kohli was repeatedly seen putting in a big stride forward and at times walking a couple of steps to whip the bowler through mid wicket.
However, the only problem here was that the youngster provided by Cricket South Africa (CSA) was at least 15 clicks lesser in terms of pace compared to Burger, who took seven wickets on debut in the opening Test at Centurion.
The net bowler’s lack of pace allowed Kohli to read the inswing and then walk down a couple of steps to flick him through mid wicket.
In match situations, Kohli won’t get so much time to come on the front foot.
A six off Ashwin was majestic and the way he played Bumrah, with so much time at his disposal, was a treat.
Shreyas Iyer’s weakness against short ball is well documented. But the Mumbaikar wasn’t amused one bit when the question cropped up during the ODI World Cup at home.
However, the Centurion Test once again exposed his shortcomings against bounce.
He continues to have serious issues while facing anything that’s remotely above his waist line. He looked iffy while batting and as Nuwan Senaviratne, the Sri Lankan left-arm side-armer, bowled one from 18 yards, Iyer reacted late while trying to pull the delivery and was hit on the fleshy part of the stomach.
For a brief period, he stopped batting, looked in pain and was given water before he resumed his job.
All three throwdown specialists bowled to him from 18 yards, and he didn’t for once look solid and display enough confidence even though he is an automatic choice in this playing XI.
Shardul bats in the nets
After being hit on the left shoulder during Saturday’s throwdown session at Centurion, Shardul Thakur was back at training, albeit strictly as a batter.
Shardul wasn’t seen bowling but he did bat at centre net as well as throwdown nets.
He didn’t seem in any discomfort and was looking good as he tackled the short balls.
India trail the two-match series after suffering a heavy defeat in the opener.
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