If anyone had any doubts regarding the importance of India versus South Africa, Indian skipper Virat Kohli made it quite apparent during the training session ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 match on Sunday. Kohli got out on a duck versus Sri Lanka, edging the ball outside the off stump and, of late, has encountered technical problems in that area and perhaps that's one of the reasons he opted for throwdowns against red 'duke' ball, an effort to counter swing. It was an out of the box training session for Kohli, who walked first into the nets on Saturday.
He walked into the middle net where fielding coach R Sridhar, throwdown expert Raghavendra and batting coach Sanjay Bangar were giving throwdowns.
Bangar was seen giving throwdowns with a red 'duke' ball -- used in Test matches.
It's not a normal sight to see batsmen taking red ball throwdowns before ODIs.
The logic behind taking red ball throwdown is that it will deviate in air throwing various challenges. Kohli was seen tackling incoming and outgoing deliveries along with extra bounce.
The white ball doesn't swing as much and if one wants to practice batting against swing bowling, one needs to have a few hits against the red ball.
After 25 minutes of the throwdown, Kohli then faced Umesh Yadav, followed by a short session against spinners. Yuvraj Singh rolled his arm over and got one to bounce from the spot. Yuvi had a wry smile and Kohli was seen telling him, "Match pe paata hoga (It will be a flat deck for the match)".
Anil Kumble devoted his maximum time with Ravichandran Ashwin, keeping a close eye on his bowling.
Later, he was seen helping Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya with spot bowling which would enable them to hit the right length.
Last but not least, during the whole course of time, both captain and coach were not seen interacting with each other.
It could be purely coincidental that Kumble came back to spinners' nets some 15 minutes after Kohli left, having taken a second round of throwdown from Bangar this time with the white ball.
(With inputs from PTI)