The Glenelg jetty is a busy site, by Adelaide standards that is, on most evenings during the summer. There was a significant crowd, again by Adelaide standards, which gathered around the popular city attraction though on Friday morning with rather quizzical looks. For, right there on the jetty itself were the biggest names in Australian men’s cricket – right from Steve Smith and David Warner to Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc – going through their paces in the team’s first practice session of the home season.
In reality, it was part of a promotional campaign, even if some like Steve Smith did take it a bit seriously with Glenn Maxwell even managing to hit a ball into the sea, literally. But it could very well have been mistaken for being Australia’s rather outre approach to getting better at a format that they somehow haven’t quite come to grips with at the international level. And with the first-ever T20 World Cup – as the erstwhile World T20 has been rechristened – to be held Down Under exactly a year away, this wouldn’t have been a bad time for Aaron Finch & Co to think outside the box – even if training on a jetty along a beach might be rather radical, even by T20’s extreme standards.
Eventually the Australians did make the 20-minute journey to the Adelaide Oval, the venue of the first of many T20Is they’ll play over the next fortnight. And once there, their practice session was more along conventional lines, in a T20 sense, with a lot of big-hitting, deep catching and rapid variations, both with bat and ball. There were of course the never-before-seen “alertness drills” that they indulged in during their nets session and which resembled a fire evacuation exercise. Basically it involved a member of the support staff blowing a whistle every 12 to 15 minute which would trigger the batsmen to immediately start scrambling up and down the pitch at full tilt and run twos and threes.