Gambhir prepares to cope with short-pitched stuff

Mohali: With short-pitched deliveries proving to be his nemesis in the recent past, India opener Gautam Gambhir was today seen devoting extra time at the three-hour net session here.

When Australia last toured India in 2008, it was the coming of age of Gambhir as an opener in Tests. Since then the Delhi left-hander has come a long way having scored 2800 runs in 32 Test matches at a impressive average of over 52.

But in the last few months Gambhir`s batting has seen a slump. Injuries have been bothering this gutsy opener who time and again have risen to the occasion.

In the upcoming series against Australia, Gambhir will have a new `assignment`, to prove his critics that he is not susceptible to short-pitched stuff.

Of late Gambhir has been dimissed a number of times to short deliveries -- the last one being off Ben Hilfenhaus during Board President`s XI match against Australia.

May be that was the reason why coach Gary Kirsten was seen devoting extra time for Gambhir during today`s net session in the afternoon.

Among all the top-order batsmen, it was Gambhir who batted the maximum time in two nets. First he was trying to cope against short stuff as Kirsten hurled balls from as close as 15 yards getting it onto his rib cage.

Someone who had sustained a wrist injury looked perfectly fine as he fended them with ease. After batting for almost an hour in that net, Gambhir went to spinners` net where he batted for another half an hour.

His opening partner Virender Sehwag, who was batting in the adjacent nets, also looked comfortable against Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma.

For someone who had complaints of a knee injury, Sehwag looked quite assured with his frontfoot movement.

Skipper Dhoni, on the otherhand, played Harbhajan Singh with ease. In between he checked some fresh bats made by Jallandhar manufacturer. The senior pros Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman also spent considerable time at the nets.

Among the bowlers, S Sreesanth was seen struggling a bit to get into any sort of rhythm.


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