Rahul hones pull shot with tennis ball

Sydney: After competing on slow wickets for nearly two months in the IPL in the United Arab Emirates, India’s batting line-up is gearing up for the lively Australian pitches by training with the tennis ball.

The in-form KL Rahul spent considerable time in perfecting the pull shot with deliveries hurled from 18 yards during today’s net session. This is a common method to train for tracks where there is steep bounce on offer. In a video posted on Twitter by the BCCI, Rahul’s senior teammate Ravichandran Ashwin was seen using a tennis racquet to ‘serve’ him tennis balls aimed at his ribcage. Rahul was trying to keep the pull shot down by rolling his wrists, something his skipper Virat Kohli has mastered over the years.

There is one basic purpose of practising with a tennis ball. From a shorter distance, the ball travels faster and it helps in making the reflexes sharper. So, when playing against the leather ball, a batsman who has practised against the tennis ball from a shorter distance will get a fraction of a second more to react. During the 1980s and 1990s, before a tour of Australia or West Indies, specialist batsmen were known to bat against a wet tennis ball from 16 or 18 yards on cement wickets. With training methods undergoing a big change, now tennis racquets are used to add pace to the tennis ball.

The team’s senior speedster, Mohammed Shami, posted a video on his personal Twitter page, showing him bowling with the pink Kookaburra brand ball.

India will need his skills most during the four-Test series, starting on December 17 with the day/night pink ball game in Adelaide. “There is no better feeling than to play for your country. A long wait to bowl in the Team India nets finally ended today! Looking forward to our Australian tour,” Shami tweeted. PTI

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