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Local Boy Bharat focuses on Hyderabad learnings to stage India’s Vizag comeback

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Last updated on 01 Feb 2024 | 10:41 AM
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Local Boy Bharat focuses on Hyderabad learnings to stage India’s Vizag comeback

Bharat, who is set to be felicitated by the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) on Friday, seems unperturbed by all the fanfare and decided to keep his focus on the match

The National Highway-16 that passes through Pothinamallayya Palem in Visakhapatnam adorns a carnival avatar on the eve of the second Test between India and England. The entire road has hoardings of KS Bharat, India’s Test wicket-keeper, with Andhra Pride written all over it. 

That’s the thing with small towns. They don’t host regular IPL matches - even international assignments are far and few in between. Whenever it does, though, cricket becomes a sidekick to the larger euphoria around - and this time, it wouldn’t have been any better with KS Bharat - the third Test cricketer from Andhra Pradesh after MSK Prasad and Hanuma Vihari - being a member of the squad.

But on his return to his city of birth, Bharat, who is set to be felicitated by the Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) on Friday, seems unperturbed by all the fanfare and decided to keep his focus on the match. Turning up for the pre-match press conference in Vizag, Bharat spoke about the learnings from the Hyderabad mauling and how the team have decided to collectively embrace more sweep shots in the second Test.

"They really played very well. Credit to them. Ollie Pope really played good shots," Bharat said in the pre-match press conference. 

“In our team meetings, we spoke about the things we could have done better and yes, we certainly have few plans. We are definitely looking at the way how they went about the first game, playing some reverse. That's something we have definitely worked on.”

"Playing in India, we play a lot of cricket on these tracks. It's not that we don't know how to sweep, reverse sweep, or paddle, but on that particular day depending on the situation of the team, we as batters take our calls," Bharat said.

"And it is very clear to us to bat with freedom. We also practised in the reverse before the first game. But playing out in the centre, it's the batters' individual plan. If the team demands us to play in a certain way, then we are up to it," the 30-year-old added.

India are 1-0 behind in the series, a situation they have found themselves in multiple times. India’s rebound ability has never been questioned, for they have proven naysayers wrong many a time. Bharat stressed the fact that the Indian team didn’t panic after the loss in Hyderabad and is ready to put that behind them to level the series. 

"We don't play the bowlers, we play the ball. On any given day, it can be experienced or inexperienced (bowler), there is nothing like inexperienced in cricket. On that particular day, if someone bowls well, you have to give credit to them. 

"After the game, the atmosphere is absolutely relaxed. They told us not to panic, which we are not. But then the instruction is very clear, it's a long Test series and we have played a lot of series like this in the past," the local boy added.

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