PERTH: India’s World Cup schedule here, which sees them straddling crazy time zones and crisscrossing the vast Australian continent, coast to coast in a matter of days, has meant the weary caravan has arrived here early Friday evening.
Closer to Singapore and Jakarta than the nearest Australian city of Adelaide, Perth is more than three hours behind and 3,000km from Sydney, where the team played the Netherlands on Thursday.
A nearly five-hour flight and airport transit times mean the team now have less than 48 hours before their crucial game against South AfricaIndia’s last big challenge in this group on what should be fast ground at the Perth Stadium.

Fortunately, the team management took this into account when they arrived in Australia early, stayed almost a week in Perth and played practice matches.
“The first phase of preparation when we landed here in Perth was the most crucial,” pacemaker Bhuvneshwar Kumar said. “Strategy changes with each team as the batters change, so we discussed and trained on executing the plans. We knew that if you lost a game first in a tournament, that too against a tough team like Pakistan, it would be difficult to make a comeback.
India may have set up camp in Perth with the game against Pakistan in mind, but it’s against South Africa that all the planning could come to fruition. The South African players also took the early morning flight from Sydney, where they demolished Bangladesh, and will face the same challenges in acclimatizing quickly to very different conditions.

While the focus is once again on India’s attacking pace in Perth, Bhuvneshwar, for his part, is happy with what he has gotten from conditions in Australia so far.
“I didn’t expect my deliveries to swing so much because people were saying it’s not moving much in Australia,” he said. “Me and Arshdeep (Singh) have completed each other so you can say I’m happy. Arshdeep always asks what kind of tracks will be offered and what kind of shots the drummers can play on those tracks. Considering this is his first T20 World Cuphe is doing very well.
With Zimbabwe upsetting Pakistan here, Perth is where it all happens in the World Cup. Even though India said they wouldn’t change much, Axar Patel isn’t too sure about India’s XI against South Africa’s heavy hitting formation on the left.

The main issue, of course, is negotiating South Africa’s speed attack.
“We have to play normal cricket without fear and not think that we are facing Rabada and Nortje on a bouncy track,” Axar said. “We also have Bhuvi, Shami and Arshdeep. The main difference between Indian and Australian wickets is the rebound, so we will plan accordingly.
the old WACA and Perth’s new stadium are on either side of the Swan River, and there will be choppy waters for India to negotiate next Sunday.

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