With an eye on the gruelling Australia series that follows the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Team India will begin preparations for the pink-ball Test against Australia from Friday evening at the ICC Academy in Dubai. Speaking to ANI, sources in the know of developments in the Indian team management confirmed that while the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari have already been training at the academy, they will now start training under lights.

“The team realises the need to prepare for such an intense series and we want to use as much of our time judiciously in Dubai. We will have sessions under lights from today and with the pink ball. Today’s session will be a three-hour session approximately,” the source said. Even though throwdown specialist Raghu had to skip travelling to the UAE with the rest of the support staff as he is down with coronavirus, the team has another throwdown specialist in Sri Lankan Nuwan Seneviratne.

His left-arm throwdowns are something that will help the Indians prepare for the Australian pace unit which is led by Mitchell Starc. “Pujara, Vihari, and the rest are currently working with Nuwan in Raghu’s absence. It is unfortunate but you cannot do anything about Raghu testing positive for coronavirus. Looking at the brighter side, Nuwan brings in the left-arm angle and that is a plus as Starc is an integral part of the Australian attack,” the source pointed.

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While the bilateral series against Australia gets underway with the limited-overs series, Virat Kohli and boys are also set to play four Tests against Australia which will be a part of the Test Championship and the winner gets one step closer to the final which is expected to be played at the historic Lord’s in June 2021.

With India sitting at the top of the points table in the Test Championship and Australia second, it is expected to be a thrilling contest with the first Test set to be played under lights from December 17 to 21 at the Adelaide Oval. The second is the Boxing Day Test which will be at the Melbourne Cricket Ground from December 26 to 30. The third Test will be at the Sydney Cricket Ground from January 7 to 11 and the final Test at the Gabba from January 15 to 19.

The BCCI announced the squad for the full series against Australia on October 26. The Indian team is set to leave for Australia from Dubai on November 12 and will land in Sydney where they will be undergoing quarantine and will also train for the ODI series which gets underway at the Sydney Cricket Ground from November 27. (ANI)

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