Banglore: The Indian team today began their three-day training camp ahead of their Test series against Australia starting next week with a three hour-long practice session here, with senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar returning in the mix after his retirement from ODI cricket.
Tendulkar, who struggled against England in the recent home Test series, batted along with Virat Kohli for 45 minutes on the centre pitch at Chinnaswamy Stadium, facing Ashok Dinda, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin.
Joining the Indian squad after a two-month gap, Tendulkar did not try anything unusual and paid attention to the basics. He played his shots and defended according to the merit of the balls.
Overall, Tendulkar appeared relaxed without asking any bowler to bowl to a particular line and length, probably feeling confident after scoring two hundreds in the recently-concluded Ranji Trophy season.
New face Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay were seen sweating it out at the side nets using the `high altitude mask`, which helps in achieving increased mental and physical stamina levels.
Virender Sehwag, Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja also batted at the centre of the pitch. They also faced `throwdowns` from India`s fast bowling coach Joe Dawes with tennis balls to prepare themselves for negotiating short-pitched stuff which Australian pace battery could unleash in the series.
Team India coach Duncan Fletcher-led support staff has engineered a plot to use the services of out-of-the-system 15 young and unknown raw talents to bowl at the top order batsmen over the next three days.
These raw talents, comprising of nine pacers and six spinners, have been picked from open trials at various cities before being sent to regional academies in Mumbai, Chennai and Mohali to whet their skills.
The programme is the brainchild of former NCA Director of Operations and the current chief selector Sandeep Patil.
These `net bowlers` will take off weight from the Indian bowlers during the camp ahead of the challenging series against the Australians beginning in Chennai from February 22.