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Two strike-outs for England team

Fast bowler Matthew Hoggard and vice-captain Marcus Trescothick were laid down by a stomach virus.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 19:03 IST

England are two down even before a ball has been bowled.

Michael Vaughan's men had expected the stifling heat to prove a bigger challenge than rank turners on the tour of India. But if they had tailored their nets sessions by roughing up the pitches at the Cricket Club of India, nothing could prepare them for the Indian summer.

Fast bowler Matthew Hoggard and vice-captain Marcus Trescothick were laid down by a stomach virus that could be attributed to the subcontinent weather conditions.

Hoggard missed the practice on Thursday but returned to the nets this morning while Trescothick went back to the hotel half way through the training on Friday.

Hoggard did bowl at the nets on Friday and was termed "still recovering" by team media manager Andrew Walpole.

Walpole said Liam Plunkett too had a slight stomuch upset and spinner Shaun Udal reportedly had a soreness on the side.

It should be a minor, if not major, concern for Duncan Fletcher who has plans to give all his 16 players a chance in the three-day warm up game here from Saturday.

MONTY NOT FULL

Rahul Dravid and Co can breath easy about the first Sikh spinner to play for England, Monty Panesar.

"He is not great, but ok," said one of the junior cricketers Kule, who played the role of practice bowlers to the English.

Kule, who has played for Mumbai at the under-19 level, said Panesar should not pose a threat to the senior Indian team.

"We under-19 team can play him," the youngster said as a matter of fact. "He turns it a bit but not much," he added.

The visiting batsmen took turns to bat on a roughed up pitch and practised their sweep shots against the slow bowlers which included Panesar himself besides the local lads.

Kule rated the English technique against spin bowling not very high. "They are playing lot of balls that should be played on the front foot from the back," he said.

IT'S MY LIFE, IT'S MY HAIR

Kevin Pietersen has lived up to his promise. He told the media the other day he was not bothered about what people thought about him, whether it was his batting or hair colour.

"Not as long as I go and keep scoring runs. It doesn't matter whether people think of me as orthodox, or a hacker, or a monkey," he said when asked if he wanted the critics to accept him as a Test batsman given his penchant for big hitting.

He gave a similar brazen reply when asked if he had taken the colour off his hair because he had an appointment with the Queen, who honoured the English team for their Ashes success.

"It had nothing to do with me seeing the Queen. I got rid off it because I did not want it anymore, if I want it, I will put it back. It really doesn't affect me at all."

So, it was no surprise to see the South Africa-born cricketer to walk in with a shaven head for the nets session this morning.

And there was no change in his approach to the batting. Pietersen dealt in sixes, swinging his bat freely, and giving a horrid time for the locals who had to often run deep into the stands to fetch the red cherry.

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 17:21 IST