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Indian team arrives in Dhaka, practice indoors

The Indian team arrived for the tri-series in Bangladesh minus the chaos normally associated with its arrival and were accorded a quiet reception at the hotel, reports G Krishnan.
Hindustan Times | By G Krishnan, Dhaka
UPDATED ON JUN 09, 2008 12:17 PM IST

The Indian team arrived for the tri-series in the morning minus the chaos normally associated with its arrival or departure and were accorded a quiet reception at the hotel.

Manpreet Gony, Sreesanth's replacement, did not accompany the squad due to visa hassles but the team management expects him in time for the first match against Pakistan on Tuesday.

The Indians practiced indoors at the Mirpur stadium even as the opener between Pakistan and Bangladesh was delayed by over two hours due to rain.

Coach Gary Kirsten, who is on his first one-day assignment with the team, gave a pep talk to his wards, telling them to put the IPL behind and focus on the 50-over format.

"You need to excel in the international arena (pointing to the adjacent Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium) and play with intensity," he told them.

Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma hogged the limelight during the three-hour session. The Mumbai batsman impressed Kirsten, who likened him to V.V.S. Laxman, Rohit's captain in the Hyderabad IPL team. "Watching you in the IPL gave me the impression that you batted like Laxman," Kirsten told Rohit. The youngster replied that he had begun to realise that during the IPL, though it was not a conscious effort to imitate the more famous Hyderabadi.

Bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad had a long chat with Ishant, pointing out minor adjustments.

"There was nothing much we could do about the conditions," Paddy Upton, the physical and mental conditioning coach, said, referring to the weather-induced indoor nets. "We practiced very nicely with what was available."

The indoor facility was cramped with three pitches, one of them for throw-ins/bowling machine.

"What happened earlier was the players finished physical training and then went to somebody who did the mental side of them. But in cricket, both physical and mental aspects go side by side," said Upton about his diverse role.

"It is a bit early to assess the fitness of the players. But they have shown commitment. That is important. Whatever time I had during the Test series (against South Africa) was enough to know what they want. But as I spend more time with them, I will be able to judge them better. We are all learning, such is life," said the South African.

"I have to find out what is going to work for the players, what their needs are, what the team wants and then execute plans that best suit them."

A close friend of Kirsten, the 39-year-old said the players were keen to play for India again after the IPL. "A cricketer's lifestyle is busy and he understands that he has to give his best. They are professionals and must be able to adapt from T20 to one-dayers to Tests. Top teams are those who adapt quickly."

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