India will look to get acclimatised to conditions and test the fitness of key players in their only warm-up game, against New Zealand, ahead of the Champions Trophy.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men will be up against a team which was blown away by both Sri Lanka and India in the Compaq Cup and did no better against a local side, Warriors, in the first warm-up game here on Friday.
The pitch at the Potch Drop Club, venue for Sunday’s warm-up, produced a score of 345 by a cobbled-up West Indies in an earlier warm-up match.
The Indians will have little to do than practice for first five days of next week before meeting Pakistan in their opening match at Centurion on September 26.
India could feel under-cooked for the big match, more so since Pakistan would have already played a game — against the West Indies at the Wanderers on September 23. Indians would surely look to put Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan in the middle for as long as possible.
The match is a season opener for Gambhir, who missed the tri-series in Sri Lanka because of a groin injury, while the other three have still not yet become very comfortable with short-pitched bowling.
Even without Shane Bond, who didn’t play in New Zealand's first warm-up game, the trio of Ian Butler, Kyle Mills and Daryll Tuffey are handy.
The task for Indian bowlers and fielders is cut-out too. RP Singh and Ashish Nehra shouldn’t have much problem in hitting the right length with the new ball. But Ishant Sharma needs to settle a few doubts.
Bhajji wants to score a ton for ‘Sunny Bhai’
Harbhajan Singh wants to score a century to fulfill the wish of Sunil Gavaskar. “In a function in Mumbai recently Sunil Gavaskar wanted to know when I would hit my first ton. Coming from him it was a huge thing. Hopefully there would soon be a cause for cheer and it would be for Sunny bhai,” said Harbhajan.
South Africa, Pakistan win convincingly
South Africa and Pakistan secured victories in their Champions Trophy warm-up matches. New Zealand
suffered a morale-sapping defeat. The hosts thumped West Indies team by 188 runs at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom on Friday. Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by 108 runs.