Attack to survive is the mantra for India
India captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid (AFP Photo)NEW DELHI: On Wednesday afternoon, Virat Kohli batted against net bowlers for a good 45 minutes in the Kotla nets, freshened up, had a few words with head coach Rahul Dravid and zoomed out of the premises even as rest of the Indian team just got into an intense session of nets.What Kohli did while he was at the nets highlighted the template for batters in spin-friendly conditions. The practice pitches were visibly bare, dry and looked as crumbly as a cookie. Virat walked up to the good length area and vigorously scratched the surface across its breadth. As left-arm spinner Saurabh Kumar and off-spinners Pulkit Narang and Hrithik Shokeen plugged away at the spot, Kohli kept charging down the track, clearly looking to attack. Off the pacers, the front-foot press was evident even while putting away the short ones. The objective of the entire session was to sharpen his run-scoring ability.Read AlsoIndia vs Australia: Virat Kohli spends extra hours against spinners in the netsIndia’s batting-mainstay Virat Kohli on Wednesday spent extra time with spinners at the nets during a practice session at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in New Delhi ahead of the second Test against Australia.Touring teams crumbling in a hurry usually exaggerates the amount of help Indian spinners derive from these surfaces. It actually boils down to how batters devise a strategy to actually put runs on the board. Indian batters, of late, had struggled to put big scores on home pitches. The current team is close to actually cracking that code having posted 400 batting second in the first Test in Nagpur last week. Two days before the second Test against Australia, Dravid, an absolute master of batting in Indian conditions in his playing days, laid out the mindset of his team management which revolves around the importance of counter-attacking.Read AlsoCheteshwar Pujara’s 100th Test milestone is a reflection of longevity and resilience: Rahul DravidWith India Test no.3 Cheteshwar Pujara all set for his milestone 100th match against Australia starting Friday, head coach Rahul Dravid was all praise for the senior batter, saying that the feat is the reflection of ‘longevity, resilience and ability to handle success and failure’. Dravid, who“Sometimes on tricky wickets and different conditions, you need to play slightly differently. You have to strike a fine balance between defence and being able to put the attack back on the opposition bowlers. On wickets like these, if you sit back and are not able to put that pressure back, it can build up to a point where you can lose two to three quick wickets,” Dravid said on Wednesday.“Rohit (Sharma), whenever he got an opportunity, put the pressure back on opposition in Nagpur. That’s what Axar and Jadeja did very well during their partnership. It is not the only way you can play but, in these conditions, being able to put pressure back on the opponents is important,” he elaborated.This is exactly why the team management is eager to draft Shreyas Iyer back into the XI. After Rishabh Pant, Iyer has been India’s most destructive Test batter in these conditions in the last 15 months.“Shreyas has played well but what has stood out is his temperament in quite a few pressure situations since he has been around. Right through his debut game in Kanpur and in last year and half, every time he has been in tough situations, he, Rishabh and Jadeja are the ones who have been bailing us out and playing those critical knocks. Along with his skill of playing spin really well, he has spent a lot of time in domestic cricket before getting in, obviously he understands how to get runs,” Dravid mentioned.While all the focus has been on how capricious the pitches will be, Team India has gone back to the drawing board and have put emphasis on batters resurrecting their form.