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India stoke camp fire with heavy work

india Updated: Jan 20, 2007 16:28 IST
G Krishnan

The Buzz was back in the Indian team. Even after poor shows in recent times in both forms of the game, the Indian cricketers continue to attract a large gathering wherever they go.

At the Vidarbha Cricket Association ground here on Friday, two days prior to the opening match of the Pepsi Cup one-day series against the West Indies, a large crowd cheered the Indians on at the nets.

There were doubts on Rahul Dravid's fitness after he received a couple of blows at nets on Thursday. However, on Friday, Dravid batted without any visible discomfort and even took catches and attended fielding drills.  Seeing the skipper made one wonder just why the speculation over him being unfit had started. “All fine, thanks.”  was Dravid's reply when asked about his fitness.

Coach Greg Chappell and his support staff continued with their team-building processes and at the end of a three-and-a-half hour session, told journalists in an informal chat that “all has been going well in the last couple of days and we hope that the next couple of days will get better.”

The BCCI ban on the players — except the captain and the coach — from talking to the media, in effect from the South Africa tour, continued here.

Yuvraj Singh, who was initially to be with the Indian team for two days — Wednesday, when the team began their practice here before the game, and Thursday — continued training with the 15-member squad for the third day also.  Doubts about his participation in Twenty20 matches in Kolkata from Saturday were put to rest when it was confirmed that the Punjab left-hander would leave for Kolkata on Friday evening.

Yuvraj, still to recover completely from his knee injury, fielded, took catches and also batted at the nets.

Sourav Ganguly, who is returning to the Indian one-day team after more than a year outside, was among the first to attend the fielding drills. However, looking at his effort, one wondered if the statement the chairman of selectors Dilip Vengsarkar made about VVS Laxman last Friday in Rajkot held true for Ganguly also.

Vengsarkar had said about Laxman's exclusion from the one-day squad: “He is not a good mover in the field.” Ganguly certainly did not seem too enthusiastic about the fielding drills.

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