The Indian team began preparations for the Test series against England with a light work-out and practice session at the Brabourne Stadium, Cricket Club of India (CCI) here on Friday.
There were question marks against Zaheer Khan’s fitness after he pulled out of the Ranji Trophy match against Railways early this week. He had bowled almost 21 overs in Railways’ first innings at the Wankhede Stadium.
Former India stumper Kiran More, watching the net session, said: “The bowlers generally try and hit the rhythm at the nets and before a big match. It’s a fantastic achievement for him (Zaheer) to be nearing 300 Test wickets,” said More.
Zaheer in action
Zaheer was seen in action after the second group of batsmen — Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane and M.S. Dhoni — faced net bowlers after the first four in Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara and Sachin Tendulkar batted for about 20 minutes. Finally M. Vijay too got a chance for a few hits watched by coach Duncan Fletcher.
Seamers Umesh Yaday, Ishant Sharma and spinners R. Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha bowled short spells, but Harbhajan Singh missed the first day’s net session which followed an exercise routine and a round of football.
Harbhajan text-messaged that his flight had been delayed by three hours and hence could not join the camp on Friday. “This is festival time and generally cricketers make it touch and go. They have to be away from home for a long time,” said More.
Bowling coach Joe Dawes, physio Evan Speechley and other members of the support staff were also present at the Brabourne. Saturday and Sunday’s camp will start at 10 a.m. and wind up at 4 p.m.