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India vs Australia 1st Test: Head Coach Rahul Dravid Gives Special Tips to Shubman Gill to Tackle Spin Challenge | Cricket News

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The pitch at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur looks like a spin-friendly one in the build-up to the first Test between India and Australia starting on Thursday (February 9). Head coach Rahul Dravid focussed on improving the Indian batters’ technique in tackling the Australian spin challenge led by Nathan Lyon.

Dravid was seen paying special attention to in-form young Indian batter Shubman Gill, who is set to be part of Playing XI in the absence of injured Shreyas Iyer. On Tuesday (February 7), the Indian team had as many nine specialist spinners – four  in main squad and five from domestic and India ‘A’ fringes helping the batters out.

While Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav would like to conserve energies for the big five days, there were off-spinners Pulkit Narang and Jayant Yadav along with leg-spinner Rahul Chahar and left-arm orthodox Ravisrinivas Sai Kishore and Saurabh Kumar who did bulk of the job.

The paucity of good off-break bowlers in domestic cricket is pretty evident that Narang and India international Jayant, both of whom aren’t even in top 10 domestic wicket-takers, being called for simulation. While Jalaj Saxena continues being ignored, Jayant’s presence shows that Lyon is very much in India’s head.

“The things that, obviously, we have worked on is playing spin, and we know the pitches are going to play here in India and what to expect. Keeping that in mind, we have practiced playing spin,” vice captain KL Rahul gave a sneak peek into team’s preparation in the lead up.

While Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli did play the sweep shot, Cheteshwar Pujara was more intent on negating the off-breaks with a big forward stride. “Each person has his own individual plans. Everybody wants to play a certain way, or everyone has their own set way which has been discussed with the coaches. We have discussed this as a batting group in an attempt to try and play spin better,” said the Indian vice captain.

In fact, head coach Rahul Dravid devoted considerable amount of time with Gill and was explaining the various methods to keep the sweep down with some shadow batting. He was seen showing Gill as to how he can avoid offering catch to forward short leg or leg gully if there is big turn on offer.

Gill was later seen himself standing at forward short leg wit fielding coach T Dileep giving him close in catching practice. The team combination isn’t being spelt out but it seems that Gill, who is in the midst of a purple patch, will have to make way for Rahul at the top.

However with a dry patch on one side of the track, the ball will do its bit from day one itself and a good wicketkeeper will be need of the hour. KS Bharat, who had once shown admirable skills keeping up to R Ashwin on a low bounce Green Park track in Kanpur is likely to get his maiden Test cap although Ishan Kishan remains an exciting left-hand option.

(with PTI inputs)

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