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HindustanTimes Sat,26 Jul 2014

Cricket

Lights, camera, action... India camp gets underway
N Ananthanarayanan, Hindustan Times
Bangalore, February 16, 2013
First Published: 16:26 IST(16/2/2013)
Last Updated: 00:27 IST(17/2/2013)
Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli during a training camp ahead of the test series against Australia at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. PTI

Coming after a 19-day break from cricket, and looking to switch from one-day mode to Test preparation, the last thing one would want to do first up is shoot a promo.

The break after the England ODIs was skipper MS Dhoni's idea, but he didn't seem to have much choice as far as the official broadcaster's demand was concerned.

Changed into whites from the training attire of blue and grey, he was in the stands of the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday morning as a motley group milled around.

He repeated the punch line for the Test series against Australia many times into the camera as reflectors focused the brightness of the studio lights on him, before being allowed to go and join his team-mates. 

Fiery start
It all seemed a bit chaotic to begin with. To add to it, a temporary sight-screen caught fire after a spark from welding work in the pavilion fell on it. A fire extinguisher was used on it but the flames still burnt bright. The stadium personnel came in a few minutes and pulled down the white cloth to douse the flames.

The India team management has decided the short camp is enough to prepare for the major series kicking off in Chennai on Friday. But they will be mindful of the fact that visiting teams are no longer strangers in the region.

The Indian Premier League has also played its role.

Rivals' plans
India also had a three-day camp before the England series. The visitors sweated it out in two warm-up games, and flew in their own spinners after the hosts did not pick any for the side games. And that paid off handsomely with India losing 1-2 after winning the first Test.

India's home invincibility is being tested. Australia, though seen as a lesser challenge than England, are also preparing elaborately after sending their squad in batches. Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher have serious areas to focus on - the opener's slot, the No 6 position, the bowling unit and whether to pick a third spinner.

The simulated match was not wrapped up until around 5 pm, when play normally ends. Virender Sehwag, who has started wearing spectacles with minor power recently, batted first up and then some more in the National Cricket Academy nets. In the afternoon, he had a long session taking low catches to prepare for slip duty.

Ajinkya Rahane, a candidate for No 6, had a long stint and so did Ravindra Jadeja, the one with the all-rounder's credentials in the side. Bhuvneshwar Kumar looked sharp bowling with Ishant and batted a fair bit.

The one constant was Sachin Tendulkar's training routine. After his batting was over, he even bowled leg spin to Harbhajan Singh.


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