Having suffered losses in Edgbaston and Lord’s, India had bounced back into contention in the five-match series by winning the third Test at Trent Bridge by 203 runs.
On Monday, Kohli and the rest of the team conducted their first net session at the Ageas Bowl upon their arrival in Southampton.
Seen hard at work at the nets was young Prithvi Shaw who has been given a maiden Test call up for India.
There was some cause of concern for Indian fans with off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin not coming down to bowl in the training session. The senior Indian spinner had suffered a groin injury in the third Test at Trent Bridge and it seems he has not completely recovered as of yet. Ashwin spent time with the team physio on the sidelines and did some light batting practice.
Ravindra Jadeja was seen bowling in the nets though the Indian team management is reportedly still hopeful of Ashwin’s recovery before the start of the fourth Test.
Pacers Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami were a busy lot in the nets on Monday while all-rounder Hardik Pandya too got in a decent workout.
The visitors are fighting against history as they look to storm their way back into the five-match series. Only one team in history has ever come back from 2-0 down to win a Test series 3-2 and that was Don Bradman’s Australia which completed the feat against England all the way back in 1936-37.
The players, this week, have been taking part in an intense fitness camp at the Army School of Physical and Training (ASPT) in Abbottabad.
Labelled the ‘retreat camp’, involving 26 players and led by captain Sarfraz Ahmed, the physical work began on Monday and will conclude on Friday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday shared images of the players hard at work in the Pakistan military establishment, under the guidance of qualified coaches.
Pakistan Cricket Team retreat camp activity at Army School of Physical & Training (ASPT), Abbotabad. pic.twitter.com/d6jzOXsFEI— PCB Official (@TheRealPCB) August 28, 2018
These fitness drills form part of Pakistan’s preparation for the Asia Cup in the UAE and will be followed by another training camp for which the schedule is set to be announced at a later date.
The Asia Cup was originally slated to be held in India but uncertainty surrounding Pakistan’s players being granted visas by the Indian government saw the tournament moved to the UAE.
The biennial tournament gets underway on September 15 in Dubai with Pakistan opening their campaign a day later against a yet to be decided qualifier.
Pakistan have been drawn in the same group as their arch-rivals India and the blockbuster meeting between the two sides takes place on September 19, again in Dubai.
PAKISTAN 26-MAN PROBABLE LIST
Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan Shinwari, Mohammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Junaid Khan, Sahibzada Farhan, Shan Masood, Usman Salahuddin, Asad Shafiq, Bilal Asif, Mohammad Asghar, Rahat Ali, Mir Hamza.
The India man has been out of action for some time now after aggravating a lower-back injury during the final ODI against England in July. He was subsequently ruled out of the first three Tests against England as he returned home to India to begin his recuperation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), also in Bengaluru.
The team management had hoped for the pacer’s return in the final two Tests in the series but that didn’t prove to be the case with Bhuvneshwar not being deemed fit enough.
Now, the 28-year-old will turn out for the India ‘A’ team in their third place playoff match against South Africa ‘A’ which takes place at Alur on Wednesday.
His participation in the playoff match was confirmed by the BCCI through a tweet on Monday.
UPDATE: Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been declared fit & will be a part of the India A squad in the ongoing Quadrangular series. He will feature in the side's next fixture against South Africa A. pic.twitter.com/4TXF7jBU9i— BCCI Domestic (@BCCIdomestic) August 27, 2018
“Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been declared fit and will be a part of the India A squad in the ongoing Quadrangular series. He will feature in the side’s next fixture against South Africa A,” the tweet from BCCI read.
Should Bhuvneshwar perform without hiccups in the 50-over game, India could be tempted to draft him into the side for the fifth and final Test against England which gets underway on September 7 at the Oval in London.