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A day for simulated match practice

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FUN ON THE JOB: Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina take time off from their practice session to indulge in playful antics.
FUN ON THE JOB: Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina take time off from their practice session to indulge in playful antics.

Principal Correspondent

Champions Trophy probables to be named on Wednesday

  • Physically they met the targets set today and we are happy: Gloster
  • Tendulkar (26) smacked three fours in an Agarkar over

    Bangalore: It was time for some cricket under the sun and the Indian cricketers obviously enjoyed their practise match at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Tuesday. After days of fitness drills and the odd net session, the 15 players selected for the tri-series commencing in Sri Lanka on August 14 got down to some simulated match practice. The team posted 242 for six in 40 overs before retiring for lunch.

    And the performance of the players, not just from a skill-perspective but also from a match-fitness angle, got full-fledged approval from physio John Gloster. "At the end of the day, you can go out and do as much net practice as you want but match situations really matter. By these simulated match situations, we wanted to see how they (players) are moving, their ability, agility and endurance. Physically they met the targets set today and we are happy," Gloster said.

    Openers

    The day began with the duo of skipper Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar donning the openers' roles, while Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh waited for their turns in the stands adjoining the National Cricket Academy.

    The remaining players along with a few NCA trainees chipped in as the rival team while Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar bowled the early spells. Tendulkar (26) smacked three fours in an Agarkar over and seemed set for more before his fellow Mumbaikar had the last laugh. Tendulkar's bid to clear the square-leg fence failed as Dinesh Mongia took a fine catch on the run.

    "I was fortunate to see Tendulkar perform at Lashings and even today he was very flamboyant. Physically he is fit to play the Sri Lankan series," Gloster said.

    Dravid (53 n.o.) meanwhile tucked into his singles and also launched into some fine drives the straight one off Sreesanth being the pick. Dravid eventually retired and the middle-order stepped in with some cameos though Sreesanth stymied Sehwag's (28) knock with a delivery that swung in and ruffled the vice-captain's pads.

    Yuvraj (41), after his initial circumspection, leant into his drives and also smote Harbhajan for a six over long-on. Later in attempting an encore Yuvraj only managed to find a waiting R.P. Singh's palms. Dhoni (32) at the other end swung R. Powar into the stands and used the long handle before holing out in the deep.

    Mohammed Kaif (26 n.o.) and Harbhajan (14 n.o.) found some runs while Suresh Raina (6) and Irfan Pathan (8) failed to cash in. Raina chipped one straight for Powar to snatch on his follow-through while Pathan was run out.

    Mongia bowls

    Among the bowlers, Dinesh Mongia too bowled along with the regulars. He bowled four overs but conceded 30 runs as he operated in the final stretch in which the batsmen attempted to hasten the run-flow. In the afternoon, the players after a brief stint inside the NCA, left for a session in the swimming pool followed by Tai-chi at the team hotel.

    On Wednesday, all eyes will be on the list of probables to be announced for the ICC Champions Trophy in India from October 7 to November 5. And with diverse voices emerging on the number of probables ranging from 22 to 30 and the added speculation over Sourav Ganguly, the announcement is set to trigger another round of debate.

    The selectors along with Greg Chappell and Rahul Dravid are set to meet on Wednesday evening and short-list the probables. The final list of 14 players for the championship has to be submitted to the ICC by September 7 as per the tournament's guidelines.

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