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India vs South Africa: Rahul Dravid gives intense pep talk as KL Rahul’s men begin training for T20I series

India’s preparation for the upcoming 5-match T20I series against South Africa began in New Delhi on Monday, a day after the members of the senior national team assembled in the capital. The first of the 5-match series will get underway from June 9 at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

India cricketers got back to work after a well-deserved break following the completion of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 which ended on May 29. Notably, KL Rahul will lead an 18-man squad, which will be without senior pros, including captain Rohit Sharma, former captain Virat Kohli, and fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah as the trio will head to England for the one-off Test, starting July 1.

On Monday, the BCCI shared a video of India’s first training session ahead of the T20I series. Head coach Rahul Dravid, who is back to work after having been away from the game during IPL 2022, was having an intense pep talk within a team huddle. Captain KL Rahul was accompanying the head coach even as youngsters, including Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik and senior pros Bhuvneshwar Kumar and comeback Dinesh Karthik were listening with rapt attention.

India also began batting and bowling practice at the nets as the likes of Umran Malik, who received his maiden India call-up along with Arshdeep, were seen bowling full tilt on Monday evening.

Head coach Dravid will be looking to identify potential candidates for the T20 World Cup squad even as captain Rohit Sharma said ahead of the IPL that they are clear about their plans for the showpiece event, which will be played in Australia later this year.

All eyes will be on Dinesh Karthik, who is returning to the senior national side after a gap of nearly 3 years. It remains to be seen if Karthik will get a game straight away as India have picked wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant as the vice-captain.

The focus will also be on young pacers Umran, Arshdeep along with the likes of Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel as they will be looking to carry the bowling unit along with senior pro Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was in fine form in IPL 2022.

The return of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal together is a much-anticipated affair while young Ravi Bishnoi will fight for his place along with the two senior wrist-spinners.

India are playing the 5-match T20I series without any bio-bubble arrangements as the sport is slowly but surely heading towards normalcy for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.

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