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Practice not perfect for India

Team attends training session ahead of Sunday’s tie but the differences out in the open for all to see. Amol Karhadkar reports. The story so far

india Updated: Feb 25, 2012 09:25 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
Sachin Tendulkar,Sachin Tendulkar,ODI

With Friday marking the second anniversary of Sachin Tendulkar becoming the first to score 200 runs in an ODI, Indian cricket fans would have expected the team to have a small get-together to celebrate the feat.

The occasion was, however, lost on the team, let alone celebration, as they trained at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday. The team, in fact, appeared a disjointed bunch following skipper MS Dhoni, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir publicly criticising each other over the last fortnight.

Staying calm

While Dhoni tried to stay as calm as he could through the training session, the simmering tension between him and Sehwag was evident.

The skipper had a chat with every bowler bowling at him, but there was no effort either on his part or Sehwag's, who was batting in the adjacent net, to strike a conversation. In fact, for a better part of the session, Sehwag, Gambhir, who first accused Dhoni of delaying the victory against Australia, and Tendulkar, who was termed as a "slow" fielder by Dhoni along with Sehwag and Gambhir, preferred to be on their own in one net.

Tendulkar, who had been generally focusing on his batting drills until now during the training sessions, bowled with his pads on to Sehwag and Gambhir for a considerable period of time. While Sehwag and Tendulkar indulged in a jovial chat, they appeared least bothered about what their captain was up to a few yards away.

On their own

Later, it came as no surprise to see everyone spending the evening as they pleased. While coach Duncan Fletcher and outgoing bowling coach Eric Simons went out together for dinner, the players preferred entertaining their “friends (read agents) from India” and “relatives from Sydney”.

Under current circumstances, a team dinner could have helped sink some misunderstandings and bring the team together. Irfan Pathan tried his best to explain why the team wasn't dining together.

“We do have team dinners but players have a lot of friends and relatives here. And then some people are vegetarian, so it becomes difficult sometimes. The other day eight or nine of us went out for dinner.

“I have been hearing things, but it's nothing like that, things are pretty good. It's a matter of winning big games. Once we start winning the big games, these things are going to vanish.”

One just hopes ego clashes haven't done irreparable damage to the team.

First Published: Feb 25, 2012 00:16 IST