Super King Dhoni rules 'sixes' challenge in Ranchi

During the optional practice session ahead of the third ODI, the Indian batsmen enjoyed a six-hitting challenge, with M. S. Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant all taking part.

M. S. Dhoni steps out and tries to send the ball into orbit during India's practice session on Thursday.   -  PTI

As the promos begin to set the mood for the start of the twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2019), India's optional practice session ahead of the third ODI against Australia was a giveaway that the likes of M. S. Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, among others, are also turning their attention towards another season of the Indian T20 league.

On the pitch adjacent to the centre wicket, each of India's specialist batsmen and the returning Bhuvneshwar Kumar took on the Sixes challenge, similar to the IPL's Super Sixes challenge, trying to not just clear the boundary rope but hit the ball the longest.

 

Dhoni was the first to take on the challenge. He stepped out and, with a clean swing of the bat, made a clean connection to send the ball flying high and long. His team-mates in the background went oohs and aahs in astonishment of how far the ball went.

Next up was Ambati Rayudu, who too hit the ball straight, connecting as cleanly as his Chennai Super Kings captain.

Dhawan finished with a shorter bat swing albeit with an equally good connection as Dhoni and Rayudu, Bhuvneshwar went more in the direction of midwicket, while Pant smashed one straight as well.

Dhoni was the first in the second round of the challenge too. He didn't get to the pitch of the ball this time, but uninhibited, Dhoni hit the ball cleanly again. Leg-break bowler Yuzvendra Chahal entered the challenge in the second round and hit the ball clean and straight with his willow.

Dhoni finished with the flourish with which he began the challenge, his final attempt in the challenge appearing to sail into the top-most tier next to the pavilion named after him at the JSCA Stadium in Ranchi.

With the new IPL season just about a fortnight away, the Indian batsmen are starting to channelise their batting to suit the rhythm of T20 cricket.

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