India focusing on slip-fielding ahead of Australia Tests, says head coach Rahul Dravid

India’s preparations for their defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is in full swing at the moment with the side set to face Pat Cummins’ Australia in less than a week’s time.

File image of India head coach Rahul Dravid. Reuters

Preparations for the Indian team’s defence of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is well underway at the moment with less than a week remaining for the first Test against Australia in Nagpur.

Having successfully conquered the limited-overs fixtures, Team India have a marquee red-ball assignment left in their home season, facing an Australian side that are looking for their first Test series victory in this part of the world in 18 years.

The Indian team would be looking to put in a few extra hours in the nets, and it’s not just because of the stature of the opposition or the legacy of the Test series that has become one of the most riveting bilateral contests in the sport.

The Indian team, after all, will be switching to a longer format after having focused on the white-ball games for a while now, beating Sri Lanka and New Zealand in January following their tour of Bangladesh.

As for the specifics of the preparations, head coach Rahul Dravid said slip-catching is one area they are looking to get better at ahead of the series.

“Fielding side of things as well, that has been really important as well, the close in catching which we think is going to become a really important part of the series. There’s a lot of emphasis and focus on close in catching, slip fielding,” Dravid, an ace fielder in the slips himself back in his playing days, was quoted as saying according to a video posted by BCCI.

Australia, meanwhile, have made some tweaks to their preparation as well, skipping a practice game and instead opting to train in a controlled environment in Alur on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Before arriving in India, the Australian team had been training in simulated subcontinental conditions in North Sydney on a surface complete with foot marks that made it resemble a fifth-day’s wicket in the subcontinent. Additionally, members of the Aussie spin contingent also practised with SG balls instead of Kookaburra.

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