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India get rolling in Jamaica

Chappell gave lessons to Sehwag on playing short-pitched deliveries in the first practice session ahead of their opening game.

india Updated: May 17, 2006 11:11 IST

With their body clocks settling into a rhythm, the Indian team had their first full practice session ahead of their tour-opening game against a local eleven in Kingston on Tuesday.

The nets meandered along its routine way at Chadwin Park but for some lusty hitting by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Coach Greg Chappell took aside Sehwag and seemed to be giving lessons to the Delhi opener on how to play shortpitched deliveries.

It stoked the anticipation for the session ahead before disappointment set in. Sehwag, who recently dismissed suggestions that he was vulnerable to short-pitched bowling, padded up only at the very end; faced a couple of inconsequential local bowlers in complete disinterest before rounding up the day.

One searched for meaning in Sehwag’s gingerly movement across the field but in the present dispensation of Indian cricket, every little information is guarded with manic zeal.

Otherwise, there was enough to be entertained about the visit to the venue and a little by-play that occurred between a few Indian cricketers. The venue itself was a good 40-minute drive from the hotel and made one wonder if the local authorities could not arrange anything better close by.

Still, a visit to Chadwin Park was worth the ticket if nothing else then for the fact that the great George Headley practiced and honed his skills at this very venue.

Ramesh Powar carried enough deception in his portly frame and it seemed to prick the pride of Yuvraj Singh who earlier had seemed in sublime form against other bowlers.

Powar’s tantalising loop and dip clearly messed up Yuvraj’s footwork on one occasion. The two left the pitch, promising each other a more convincing round the next time. Dhoni, at the adjoining pitch, batted as only presently he can.

He hoisted Harbhajan Singh clean out of the boundary walls of the ground past the running street. A few subsequent buck-up calls from Chappell didn’t seem to have an assuaging effect on the otherwise ebullient Sardar.

Outside the ropes, bio-mechanist Ian Frazer tempted Mohammad Kaif and Irfan Pathan to leave the crease and meet lobbed deliveries on the pitch.

Skipper Rahul Dravid came in for some easy nets but found himself once bowled and then continuously presented with short-pitched stuff by a couple of local bowlers. Almost bored, he produced a few hook shots before retiring in the shade.

The young fast bowlers were the first ones to take control of nets as they bowled to get their line and length in order.

Irfan Pathan, clearly in a conservation mode, moved ever so slowly to his bowling mark and bowled only slightly above military medium-pace, it seems he has realised the virtue of spacing out on such a long tour.

The session carried on with good intent for nearly three hours before everyone in the team fitted himself somehow inside a van and headed back to hotel.