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Indian cricketers return in low spirits

The tour left the teams with little opportunity to start earnest preparations for the season that culminates in WC '07, writes G Krishnan.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 12:30 IST
G Krishnan
G Krishnan

No sooner had the three-match one-day series between India and Sri Lanka been called off than Rahul Dravid dashed off to Bangalore.

The Indian skipper was the first to return home, catching a flight in the wee hours of Monday. The rest of the team left in batches on Monday afternoon, some directly to Delhi while the others via Chennai.

The Indian team used Monday morning to pay a visit to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. This tour left the teams with little opportunity to start earnest preparations for the season that culminates in the 2007 World Cup.

Only India, among the three that were to be seen in action here, will be in a better position in terms of preparation ahead of the Champions Trophy in October, as they head off to Malaysia for the tri-series against West Indies and Australia.

Executive Secretary in charge of the BCCI, Ratnakar Shetty told HT from Mumbai that the Indian think-tank had requested for an early departure for the Sept 12-24 event in Kuala Lumpur.

"We have received a request from the team management to go to KL early. Nothing has been finalised as yet,” Shetty said. This series provides India with another opportunity to experiment a few things, one of them being the opening combination of Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

The two senior-most batsmen walked out together in the only international action that was possible in the last 10 days but rain put paid to coach Greg Chappell’s hopes of seeing how it worked.

Chappell was disappointed that his team could not get much out of this Lankan sojourn, where the conditions are similar to the West Indies. "It (the weather) takes away the opportunity for us to play again on wickets that may be similar to the West Indies,” Chappell said before his departure for India.

The Aussie added,"From that point of view it is disappointing. But we will get a fair bit of cricket. I imagine the wickets in Malaysia will be a bit on the slower side. After the West Indies tour, to play SL at home when they are coming off a successful tour of England and a (Test) series win against SA here, it would have been a good time to test ourselves.”

Chappell indicated his team would be better prepared to take on the two countries, the only ones to have won the World Cup at least twice in the previous eight editions.

"We are looking at the options that we can do. We do not necessarily have to have another camp. We have to be a little bit careful and try to do something from what we have just done in Bangalore. The options are to do something in India prior to leaving for Malaysia or to go to Malaysia early and use that as a preparatory camp.”

First Published: Aug 22, 2006 00:59 IST