MUMBAI- Looking to keep a clean sheet in the World Cup, India’s coaching staff got down to business shortly after landing here on Monday afternoon ahead of their mega semifinal against New Zealand.
India head coach Rahul Dravid, batting coach Vikram Rathour, bowling coach Paras Mhambrey and fielding coach T Dilip made their way to the Wankhede Stadium here to inspect the pitch, on which the home team and title favourites play against the rusty but formidable Kiwis on Wednesday.
While unbeaten India did not have any training activity on Monday, given their league stage campaign ended only on the previous night with a 160-run win over the Netherlands, New Zealand spent three hours training under lights with full intensity in a bid to iron out the flaws that have surfaced of late.
If New Zealand’s four consecutive wins sounded an early warning for others at the start of the World Cup, as many losses in the last five matches took the momentum a bit. A win over hapless Sri Lanka did push them into the World Cup semifinals, where the persevering Kiwis will have to conjure their best to stop India’s juggernaut.
Having arrived in the city one day before their rivals for the semifinal contest, New Zealand certainly have a lot of ground to cover in order to lift their intensity.
The focus was clearly on batters as they had long hits in the nets. A long game of intra-squad football followed, after which the Kiwis did fielding and catching drills. Rachin Ravindra, who is among the tournament’s highest run-getters, had a long hit in the nets alongside captain Kane Williamson, opening partner Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell in rotation. The fast bowlers — Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Lockie Ferguson — also had a bowling stint at the venue, where New Zealand will be playing their first game of this World Cup.
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