Principal Correspondent

Bangalore: Ever since the rains came pelting down at the Beausejour Stadium in Gros Islet, St. Lucia, on July 5, the Indian cricketers have had some time to put their feet up and catch their breath. The rains curtailed the fourth ODI against the West Indies and India ran out winners at 2-1.

However, with another long season snapping at their heels, M.S. Dhoni’s men will now regroup at the National Cricket Academy as the four-day preparatory camp commences here on Thursday.

The 15-member team will compete in the Tri-Series in Sri Lanka from September 8 to 14 before participating in the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa from September 22 to October 5. India’s first match in the Tri-Series will be against New Zealand at Colombo on September 11.

Prior to leaving for Sri Lanka, most of the players will turn out for various companies in the BCCI’s inaugural Corporate limited-overs tournament at Bangalore, Mohali, Dharamsala and Visakhapatnam from September 1 to 8.

The players and support staff arrived in batches through Wednesday and spent time at the team hotel, finalising their playing-apparel besides catching up with each other. Coach Gary Kirsten along with mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton are expected to join the team ahead of Thursday’s morning session at the hotel.

Fitness session

The players are then scheduled to attend an afternoon fitness session at the National Cricket Academy before returning to their rooms ahead of the BCCI’s Corporate tournament launch function.

On Friday, the players will have a net session at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and there is also a proposal for a one-day stint at a defence establishment where the players will grapple with army training techniques. The camp will conclude on August 30.

Yuvraj Singh, a key member of the team, said: “We have a long season ahead starting with the Corporate tournament followed by the Tri-Series and Champions Trophy. We are looking forward to the camp and most of us have had fitness sessions two weeks ago (at Delhi and Mumbai) and we are looking lean and fit.

“We will have our assessments here and will prepare hard for the matches ahead.” Yuvraj also welcomed the return of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid to the squad.

“Sachin is a great batsman and Dravid is coming back after a long break (from the ODI side) and both bring in a lot of experience and the youngsters in the team can learn from them,” Yuvraj said.

Virender Sehwag, who missed a berth in the squad due to a shoulder injury and is busy recovering at the NCA, gave a thumbs-up sign to newly appointed trainer Ramji Srinivasan.

“All of us have known Ramji for a long time and personally I have had very good results whenever I have trained with him,” Sehwag said.

The team: M.S. Dhoni (captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, R.P. Singh, Amit Mishra, Dinesh Karthik and Abhishek Nayar.

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