Team India have been in Adelaide for over two weeks now, and due to the rescheduling of the venues and dates, will begin their Test series against Australia at this very venue, instead of Brisbane. The revised schedule might be a blessing in disguise for the visitors, as they not only play their first Test at a venue they have become quite acclimatized to but also the one that suits their game better.
There are great expectations, especially off the young batting lineup, that was challenged in England three months ago. In their two practice matches at the Gliderol Oval, almost all of them spent quality time in the middle, besides working long hours in the nets.
As they put final touches to their preparations for the first Test, five Indian batsmen spoke about the lessons they learnt from England and their plans for the coming series.
The lessons from England
Murali Vijay: I have been preparing well for this series. I batted well in England a few months back and I am trying to carry that confidence into this series. I feel pretty good about my batting and I will try my best to present that in the middle.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Every player has tough times during his career and England was one of those for me. That failure has taught me many things. There were many questions asked off me and that’s when you grow up, handle that pressure, overcome it and come out as a better cricketer. It was just one of the tours that didn’t go my way.
After England, I did some analysis on my batting and found that technically there were some things I needed to work on. I worked on them and played county cricket for Derbyshire, which turned out to be a very good experience.
Shikhar Dhawan: I didn’t score too many runs in England and it was a learning experience for me. It made me a better player. If I am not doing well, I am very open to suggestions and change in order to improve as a cricketer. I do talk to a lot of people and take suggestions if I think they will help me.
The Adelaide factor
Rohit Sharma: We have been here for the last two weeks and we had a good centre-wicket practice as well. That has helped us in getting to know the conditions better. Also, we have done well in Adelaide in the past. So, it will be an ideal start for us and hopefully, we will carry on the momentum in the next Test matches we well.
The Aussie challenge
Suresh Raina: I have worked really hard on my batting since I was dropped from the Asia Cup squad. I played my last Test in 2012 and it’s been two years. So, I am really looking forward to this series. I am batting well at the moment and am really excited for this opportunity.
Rohit Sharma: We know how Australians play, we know they are aggressive. And we are ready to give it back. It will be a hard-fought series. It will be a big test for us as for most of the guys this is their first tour here. But we know their bowling attack quite well and we have our own plans to counter it. I will not look to do anything extra. I will follow the same processes that I have followed in domestic cricket and all the levels I have played at. The more you complicate things, you will fall apart. The good thing is that I have a fair idea about the conditions here. So, I just have to figure out what shots I need to play on which wicket
Murali Vijay: This is a long Test series and emotionally it is going to be challenging as a team and as individuals. I learned in England that if you start off well, it makes things easier. That’s what I want to do here as well – get the team off to a good start and add as much value as I can right through the series.
The opening act
Shikhar Dhawan: I believe that you need an aggressive opening batsman in modern cricket, someone who can turn things around with his impact. I would love to play that role for the team.
Murali Vijay: Every team depends heavily on the start the openers give them. We both are looking to get that opening partnership going and we have immense faith in each other’s games.
Suresh Raina: Whether I stick to my attacking game or look to play out time, will depend on the situation of the match. If you look at someone like Adam Gilchrist and others who have won Test matches for their team batting at No. 6, they all change their styles depending on what the situation demands. It also depends on how good the lower order is with the bat. We have people like Bhuvi (Bhuneshwar Kumar) and (Mohammad) Shami who showed in England what they can do with the bat. Every No. 5 or 6 batsman knows that whatever runs you score with the lower order after 90 overs, gives an edge to your bowlers.