A month and seven days after their unceremonious exit from the World Cup, aiming to make a new beginning at the Eden Gardens, the Indian cricket team's think-tank assembled in Kolkata on Monday.
Newly-appointed cricket manager Ravi Shastri and skipper Rahul Dravid reached Kolkata to hammer out strategy and more practical details before the conditioning camp, which starts on Wednesday and ends on May 6. The team leaves for Bangladesh the next day to play three one-day international matches followed by two Test matches.
Bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad and fielding coach Robin Singh also arrived on Monday to prepare the ground for the camp.
Neither Dravid nor any of the coaches interacted with the media and were frisked away amidst tight security. Dravid was accompanied by his wife Vijeta and son Samit.
Others who arrived here to oversee the facilities were administrative manager Surendra Bhave, masseur Ramesh Mane, video analyst S Ramakrishnan and logistics manager Russel Radhakrishnan.
The India think-tank will meet the CAB officials on Tuesday morning and chalk out the training programme. The players will start arriving on Tuesday.
Sachin, Sourav were axed: Kapil
Part of an “improvement mission”, former skipper Kapil Dev delivered a bouncer on Monday, asserting that Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly were dropped for the one-day series and not rested, as the selectors had insisted.
“Rules cannot be different for different players. For me there are no half measures. They (Tendulkar and Ganguly) are either in or out. There is nothing called rested,” Kapil told reporters at the airport on being asked for his comments on Ganguly and Sachin being rested for the one-day series. “They have not played that much cricket in the last six months that they needed to be rested. They were dropped,” he added.
On similar questions later at the Cricket Association of Bengal, where he dropped by to monitor the Zonal Cricket Academy trainees working out at the gym, all Kapil would say was “no comments”.
Queried further on his way out of the hotel to visit the ZCA at Jadavpur (in Salt Lake), he just smiled. Kapil, the chairman of the National Cricket Academy, and NCA director Lalchand Rajput are here to monitor the East Zone ZCA trainees practising under coaches Pranab Roy and Rajesh Dani.
On the upcoming Bangladesh series, Kapil said India needed a good series to regain confidence. “The side is not that much confident at the moment. They need a good series and they should ensure that there are no further goof-ups like in the World Cup.”
Kapil, who inspected the gymnasium and training facilities at the Eden Gardens, said he was satisfied that the facilities were the best possible. “During our playing days, we did not have access to such facilities. We had nothing to do during the off season. Now with such facilities in place, players can keep themselves on the ball round the year,” he said.