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India get a feel of home conditions again

At the Indian training session, all eyes were mainly on three players - Sachin Tendulkar, and the two new faces Yusuf Pathan, coming back to the one-day squad after the tour of the West Indies last year, and Ashok Dinda, returning after a dazzling domestic season. Nilankur Das reports.

india Updated: Mar 12, 2012 02:07 IST
Nilankur Das
Indian-cricket-captain-Mahendra-Singh-Dhoni-addresses-a-press-conference-in-Dhaka-ahead-of-The-Asia-Cup-AFP-Photo-Munir-uz-Zaman
Indian-cricket-captain-Mahendra-Singh-Dhoni-addresses-a-press-conference-in-Dhaka-ahead-of-The-Asia-Cup-AFP-Photo-Munir-uz-Zaman

India were scheduled to leave the team hotel for their Sunday morning training session, their first after landing in Bangladesh the previous day, at 9 am. Normally it would have taken around 40 minutes to arrive at the venue - Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium - on the first working day of the week here. But the groundstaff heard the sound of hooters much earlier than they had expected and were seen running to get things in order.

A political rally called by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Monday has virtually shut down transport in the city, offering a respite from the eternally jammed roads.

But on the flip side, even after the tickets for the opening match between Pakistan and Bangladesh were sold out, there weren't many in the stands till long after the game started.

Long session
With hardly any transport other than Dhaka's famous cycle rickshaws, a lot of people could not make it to the ground.

The black-marketers had a bad day, one of them literally begging you to buy Tk600 (R366) tickets for a throwaway price of Tk200 (R122).

At the Indian training session, all eyes were mainly on three players - Sachin Tendulkar, and the two new faces Yusuf Pathan, coming back to the one-day squad after the tour of the West Indies last year, and Ashok Dinda, returning after a dazzling domestic season.

His last match with India was two years back in the previous edition of the Asia Cup.

Tendulkar's long session with the bat, first at the nets adjacent to the indoor training facility prolonged by throw-downs at the Bangladesh Cricket Board Academy area across the ground, was a hit with the local media.

Pathan was in the nets early but sparks didn't exactly fly. The very slow practice wickets also made it difficult for Pathan to play his shots. It could even force skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to have a rethink on whether Pathan can be effective here.

Upto speed
"We unfortunately don't have Virender Sehwag here. He is dangerous for any bowling attack upfront. Yusuf Pathan is capable of destroying attacks and he could be a factor here," Dhoni had said at the press conference on Saturday. On Sunday, Dhoni was more interested to know whether there would be dew in the evening.

Dinda though looked the most impressive among the four Indian pacers.

He got his chance after Praveen Kumar and Irfan Pathan had finished their spells and bowled in tandem with R Vinay Kumar.

Bowling to Dhoni, Dinda's yorker hit the skipper on his foot. He followed that up with another one which was just about dug out.

The Bengal medium-pacer took Dhoni's off-stump with the third ball. Will this be enough to get him into the 11 for Tuesday's match against Sri Lanka? We will have to wait and see.