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Tired India finally get down to work

A weary India limbered up for their first training session in Trinidad on Thursday, two days ahead of the opening Twenty20 international against the West Indies at the Queen's Park Oval. N Ananthanarayanan reports.

cricket Updated: Jun 03, 2011 16:01 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

A weary India limbered up for their first training session in Trinidad on Thursday, two days ahead of the opening Twenty20 international against the West Indies at the Queen's Park Oval.

The Suresh Raina-led squad, whose new coach, Duncan Fletcher, will also aim to turnaround his fortunes in the limited-overs format, having tasted little success during his tenure as England coach, landed on Wednesday night.

The players arrived here, having travelled from Mumbai to London and then onwards to Barbados, from where they took a chartered flight to reach the team's first port of call.

The only T20 game will feature an India team, whose entire squad is coming after featuring in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

With Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan and skipper MS Dhoni not a part of the limited-overs series, it remains to be seen whether fatigue will hurt the visiting team's chances.

The youngest batsman in the team, Virat Kohli, played in the final for the Bangalore Royal Challengers while the senior-most, Harbhajan Singh, saw action till the previous day on May 27, when the Mumbai Indians lost the second qualifier.

West Indies team manager and former skipper, Richie Richardson, was confident his side would cash in on the home advantage. However, he urged his players not to let slip the early advantage.

"India are the best in the world but we will have the advantage," he told HT as the home team geared up for training and a practice T20 game against the academy side at the National Cricket Centre in Couva, on the outskirts.

Richardson insisted his players will have to be at their best if they are to compete against India, mindful of the fact that dropped catches cost them the second Test against Pakistan, which squared the two-Test series 1-1. This was after the visitors had won the ODIs 3-2.

Richardson did not feel India would be fatigued. "When I played, moving from one territory to another somehow energised us, especially playing different formats of the game," he said.

India stepped onto the Queen's Park Oval for the first time since their first round exit from the 2007 World Cup at the same venue.

The T20 game and the first two of the five-match ODI series will be played here and will indicate how well the young set of players fare in the challenging series.