For the first time in several years, a home camp for the Indian cricket team concluded without the two stalwarts; Rahul Dravid, who batted 219 times at No. 3 and V.V.S. Laxman, who batted 178 times together at No. 3, 5 and 6.

It must have been an odd feeling for some senior members of the Indian team, though Laxman announced his retirement from international cricket a few days before the first Test against New Zealand and the No. 3 place was taken by Cheteshwar Pujara and the No. 6 by Suresh Raina.

Reposed faith

But the three-day camp, extensively run for the batsmen and against plenty of right arm off-spinners and left-arm spinners, with the anticipation that they would face Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar or Samit Patel at Motera, also saw off-spinner Harbhajan Singh return to the squad.

Nothing during the 18 hours of training and practice sessions at the Brabourne Stadium indicated that he would be considered as a third spinner immediately, but the fact is the national selectors have reposed faith in him with a hope that the feisty Punjab off-spinner would run into form when given a first opportunity.

The team will proceed to Ahmedabad on Monday morning to get used to the local conditions there for three days.

India has not lost a home Test series to England for 27 years and to any team since it lost to Australia 1-2 in the 2004-05 season. India had lost 0-2 to South Africa in 1999-2000.

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