Bengaluru: A local net bowler was hurling tennis balls at Shikhar Dhawan, straight at the head, underarm – not on the bounce but directed at the head like the trajectory of a bouncer. (World T20: Why Should India Worry About Bangladesh? Asks Virender Sehwag)
At a distance, a very close short cover may be, Ravi Shastri stood observing – his head moving from the bowler’s arm to Dhawan’s reaction – how the opener left if should be left, how he fended if it came at an awkward angle or how he played a shot if it was there to be hit.
Clearly, the Indian team realises the patchy form their left-handed opener is going through since his match-winning knock in the Asia Cup final earlier this month. And Shastri was keen to fix any defects in the machinery ahead of India’s third group game of the ICC World Twenty20 at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Bangladesh shouldn’t be very tough for the hosts to get past, especially considering they have already lost both their previous games. But India were doing what they had to, and top of the priority seemed correcting any flaws in Dhawan’s techniques.
The drill continued for good 15 minutes, as Shastri alternated between the main nets and Dhawan.
In his two innings in the tournament so far, Dhawan got out to spin against New Zealand – trapped LBW by Nathan McCullum for 1, and the next game, against Pakistan, castled by the pace of Mohammad Sami for 6.
That made it slightly strange as to why a bouncer drill for him, especially because neither the M Chinnaswamy track is expected to have that kind of bounce nor do Bangladesh, after Taskin Ahmed’s suspension, have a bowler who can bounce out the Indian batsmen.
Perhaps Shastri spotted something that required urgent attention, which is why he played special attention to how Dhawan reacted to the drill.
But it made one thing pretty evident, that the left-hander will retain his place in the eleven on Wednesday and all conjectures about Ajinkya Rahane replacing Dhawan will remain conjectures.
(With inputs from Soumit Mohan)