By Amlan Chakraborty
LONDON (Reuters) – Australia captain Aaron Finch said opener David Warner has been “shaken up” after his drive hit a net bowler in the head ahead of Sunday’s World Cup blockbuster against India.
Australia’s practice session at The Oval came to an abrupt halt when the bowler, Jaykishan Plaha, dropped to the ground after being hit on the head as he tried to stop opener Warner’s cracking drive off a half volley.
Finch said Plaha was in “pretty good spirits” but the incident had rattled Australia’s batting lynchpin Warner.
“Yeah, Dave was obviously pretty shaken up,” Finch told reporters on Saturday.
“The young guy seems to be in pretty good spirits at the moment. He’s obviously been taken off to hospital and will continue to be assessed just to make sure that everything is okay. But yeah, Dave was pretty shaken up, no doubt.
“It was a decent hit to the head. Hopefully everything keeps going well for the youngster and he’s back up and running shortly. It was tough to watch.
“It’s quite rare that somebody gets hit and it’s obviously very unfortunate.”
Finch agreed that more safety precautions could be taken to protect net bowlers, in particular the use of helmets. “Yeah, that could be a decent idea… it’s such a personal preference for net bowlers,” he said.
In 2014, Warner was playing in the Sheffield Shield match in which his friend Phil Hughes was fatally hit in the neck by a bouncer while batting. Hughes underwent emergency surgery but died two days later, three days before his 26th birthday.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, Finch said his side drew plenty of confidence from they way they batted against the spinners during their 3-2 ODI series victory in India in March.
“They’ve got some all-time great players, no doubt about that. So to be able to beat them in their home conditions three times in a row was really important for the confidence of the side, especially going into a game like this.”
Australia will once again need to find a way to negate the threat posed by India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, whose new ball as well as death-overs mastery have made him a batsman’s nightmare.
Finch said Australia had done their homework and there was no need to overhaul technique to face the Indian quick with an unusual whiplash action.
“You do your due diligence on every bowler every game. He’s a world-class bowler. He’s had a lot of success, especially over the last 18, 24 months.
“I think all the guys are as well-prepared mentally and technically as they can be… it’s too quick to be tinkering with technique and things like that in my opinion.”
As for leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who claimed 4-51 in India’s opener against South Africa on Wednesday, the plan would be to deny him any early success, Finch said.
“He bowled very well against South Africa. Obviously he got some wickets early in his spell, which is a leg-spinner’s dream.
“We all know that if you can deny leg-spinners wickets early, they start to go searching. I’ve never met a leg-spinner that doesn’t.”
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in London; editing by Clare Fallon and Tony Lawrence)