In West Bengal, Gurudev earlier has inspired the launch of Project ‘Udaan’, a pathbreaking effort to create safe haven for the children of sex workers and helping them get back to mainstream society.
Having already booked their place in the final of the ongoing Asia Cup, India will look to rest some of the key players and bring in the ones warming the bench so far, when the Men-in-Blue takes the field in an inconsequential Super Four game against Bangladesh at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday.
Among the most prominent names to be forced out of action is Shreyas Iyer, a last-minute exclusion from the first Super Four game against Pakistan, after he suffered back spasms moments before the toss on Sunday. He subsequently did not turn up at the stadium for the next match against Sri Lanka on Tuesday as the BCCI’s medical team advised him to rest.
On Thursday, India had scheduled an optional training session ahead of their last league game against Bangladesh, who are already knocked out of the tournament.
Iyer, who was among the five players along with coaches Rahul Dravid and Paras Mhambrey to turn up at the optional session, was seen in full flow at the nets. He was seen undergoing stretching, particularly his back, and after a while he did short sprints before heading off for a session of underarm throwdowns. He showed no signs of discomfort while facing the net bowlers, and drove the fuller length deliveries at ease and batted for close to an hour.
Iyer was out of action since the home series against Australia in March due to a back condition that required surgery. He missed the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 and only returned for the Asia Cup, where he played two games before the mini setback. He batted in the group game against Pakistan in Pallekele and wasn’t needed against Nepal.
Besides Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja and Thakur batted in pairs, while Tilak Verma and birthday boy Suryakumar Yadav followed a similar pattern in the other nets.
Tilak was also seen rolling his arms after India missed an off-spinner in their ranks during the game against Sri Lanka. During his bowling, Verma was seen discussing grip and flight of the ball.
Later, Mhambrey revealed that he has been working with Tilak since his U-19 days and feels he can be a utility bowler as and when the situation demands.
“We have been working with Tilak since the Under-19 days. I felt that when we had gone to South Africa for Under-19 (World Cup in 2020), he had a bowling skill that we could definitely use, and so we have been working on that consistently,” Mhambrey said after training.
“We are looking to see if he plays and manages to get a chance to bowl even one over, we’ll start from there. If we can look at that and gain confidence from his bowling, the captain will have an option.”
“In case we need an extra spinner given the circumstances – based on conditions or opposition batters – especially if there are left-handers and you need an offspinner, we need an option to go to. So, we are working with him on his bowling,” he added.
Mhambrey also indicated that some of the benched players could be in action against Bangladesh, and in that scenario, it will be interesting to see if the World Cup-bound Iyer is back in the Playing XI.