Soon after their arrival in London on Friday, the Indian cricketers got down to business. On a warm and sunny day, the team hit the nets for its first practice session of the World T20 campaign on Saturday. However, they reached approximately 50 minutes late for the session, which was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. No specific reason was given for the delay.
Zaheer Khan, whose fitness has been under constant speculation before the team departed from India, trained with the players but did not bowl. Since it was an optional day of practice, Harbhajan Singh opted out.
The nets started with a game of football that went on for about half-an-hour, following which Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma and Gautam Gambhir took guard. As for the bowling, Ishant Sharma and Irfan Pathan began the proceedings with Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh warming up by the practice pitch under the watchful eyes of conditioning coach Paddy Upton.
As the session progressed, the intensity and workload of the players increased. The second batch of batsmen included Yusuf Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, while Rohit Sharma could be seen working closely on his batting with fielding coach Robin Singh.
Two of India's main batsmen, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh, opted out of their respective batting stints, while Yuvraj did roll his arm over at Rohit Sharma in the special net. Praveen Kumar was the final batsman to take a hit with throw-downs from local net bowlers.
Pacemen RP Singh and Praveen Kumar had a steady workout as they bowled to Rohit and Raina early on. All in all, it was a hearty first warm-up session for the Indians before their serious cricketing assignment begins on June 1 with a friendly against New Zealand at the Lord's.
The Indian practice session also had a familiar but surprise visitor in Murali Kartik, who is in London for his county commitments with Middlesex.