Wicketkeeper KS Bharat expressed confidence on Thursday, stating that the Indian team is untroubled by injuries and has devised new strategies to counter England’s aggressive approach, including employing the sweep shot as needed in the upcoming second Test in Visakhapatnam. Speaking before the home crowd, Bharat revealed that the squad has addressed its shortcomings from the series opener, where England staged a remarkable comeback to secure a 28-run victory.
The English batsmen, led by Ollie Pope, disrupted the Indian spinners with a flurry of sweeps and reverse sweeps. Bharat emphasized that the team is prepared to meet this challenge head-on in the upcoming Test. “They really played very well. Credit to them. Ollie Pope really played good shots,” acknowledged KS Bharat during the pre-match press conference.
With key players like KL Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja sidelined due to injuries, the Indian team has focused on refining its strategies to counter England’s batting tactics.
“In our team meetings, we spoke about the things we could have done better, and yes, we certainly have a few plans. (We are) definitely looking at the way they went about the first game, playing some reverse. That’s something we have definitely worked on,” he added.
While Indian batters are not known for playing many sweep shots, they were seen practising the shot in the lead-up to the second Test. KS Bharat clarified that the team is well-versed in playing such shots but emphasized that their approach depends on the match situation.
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“Playing in India, we play a lot of cricket on these tracks. It’s not that we don’t know how to sweep, reverse sweep, or paddle, but on that particular day, depending on the situation of the team, we as batters take our calls,” KS Bharat explained. “And it is very clear to us to bat with freedom. If the team demands us to play in a certain way, then we are up to it.”
Reflecting on the surprise of Indian batters succumbing to the relatively inexperienced Tom Hartley in the first Test, Bharat defended their effort, emphasizing that cricket is unpredictable and credit should be given to a bowler who performs well on a given day.
He also mentioned that the team atmosphere is relaxed after the game, with a clear instruction not to panic, considering the long Test series ahead. KS Bharat concluded by highlighting the team’s experience in handling similar series in the past.
Despite the entire team being present on Wednesday, only six players attended the optional practice session on Thursday morning. Shubman Gill, Sourabh Kumar, Rajat Patidar, Dhruv Jurel, Yashasvi Jaiswal, and Sarfaraz Khan were among those who participated. Gill, who has been working hard in the nets, has yet to translate his white-ball form into Test cricket.