Rohit was present as skipper and batter in equal measure during a two-hour session.
It was an optional session at Supersport Park, but for India’s skipper Rohit Sharma, skipping the nets was not an option. After being outplayed by South African pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada in both innings of the opening Test, Rohit was determined to make the most of this practice session. As both captain and batter, he dedicated two hours to honing his skills.
During this session, Rohit focused on facing Mukesh Kumar, who exclusively bowled to him for at least 45 minutes. While the fit-again Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin also bowled in the same nets, Rohit’s undivided attention was on the young Bengal seamer, who had only played one Test so far. Occasionally, Dayanand Garani, the throwdown specialist, challenged Rohit with fast and full deliveries on the off stump channel.
Rohit specifically requested Mukesh to bowl deliveries that come in with an angled length, aiming to improve his technique against such deliveries.
“Hawa mein andaar aa raha hai. Par koshish kar angle se andar laane ka,” the skipper told his younger colleague.
— Abhishek Tripathi / अभिषेक त्रिपाठी (@abhishereporter) December 30, 2023
Rohit had specifically requested Mukesh to bowl deliveries ranging from 4 to 6 meters in length, and it seemed that the seamer had managed to impress the team captain. There were instances when he successfully deceived Rohit with his deliveries, earning praise from the experienced player.
Rohit’s particular attention to the incoming deliveries could be attributed to the way he was outsmarted by Kagiso Rabada in the second innings. The talented right-arm pacer managed to make the ball straighten from a certain length, exposing Rohit’s vulnerability.
— Kushan Sarkar (@kushansarkar) December 30, 2023
When batting coach Vikram Rathour asked him, “Tu is net pe aayega” (would you like to use this one), pointing at the nets exclusively kept for throwdowns, the skipper replied: “Nahi yehin pe aur 10 minute bat karoonga” (No I will bat here for another 10 minutes).
The skipper dedicated additional time to Mukesh, providing him with tips on wrist position and the optimal length for consistent hits. This personalized attention from the skipper has greatly benefited Mukesh, who has been a key player in Bengal’s appearance in two Ranji Trophy finals within a span of three years.
The upcoming red-ball clash between the two teams is set to occur at Newlands in Cape Town on January 3.