Mohali is one of those very few cricket stadiums in the world where the cracking sound of the ball thundering off the bat is often suppressed by the deafening noise of an aeroplane flying over – the Chandigarh airport is barely a few kilometres away from the IS Bindra Stadium. But Umesh Yadav’s one hit in India’s net session on Monday brought about such a reaction from the likes of Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya that it can easily take the third spot.
After regulars Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, and Ravichandran Ashwin had batted in the nets on the eve of the first T20I against Australia here, it was the bowler’s turn to hone their batting skills. Umesh Yadav, who has made a comeback to the Indian T20I side after a gap of more than three and a half years as Covid-positive Mohammed Shami’s replacement and Yuzvendra Chahal were the first to pad up. Umesh took guard against the net bowlers and smashed his second delivery straight over the bowler’s head.
Hardik Pandya, who was batting at the other net to the left of Umesh, stopped and shouted his lungs out in admiration. Virat Kohli, who had just finished a long net session and was sitting in the shades, was seen giggling and clapping.
While Pandya’s reaction was purely because of the brilliance of the shot and the fact that it came from Umesh and not from a designated batter, Kohli’s had a lot to do with a small animated session he had with both Umesh and Chahal.
Just like Sunday, Kohli had a gala time in the nets on Monday. He was severe against Chahal and also handled the pace of Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh quite well. Such was his display against Chahal that he felt the need to talk to the leggie about where he was going wrong.
After sharing his thoughts on Chahal’s bowling, Kohli was seen gesturing a lot about batting. Umesh joined the session soon after and was seen listening to ‘coach’ Kohli attentively. They didn’t bowl after that session with Kohli but immediately walked in to bat.
India are set to play three T20Is against Australia and South Africa at home. These six matches will be their last to plug the loopholes before the World Cup in Australia in October-November this year.
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