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Low In Spirit, Team India Undergoes Practice

PTI 08 Aug 2011, 20:16:56 IST
PTI

Birmingham, Aug 8: A dispirited and pensive-looking Indians today underwent a training session at Edgbaston cricket ground here with left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha turning up at the nets after joining the team as Harbhajan Singh's replacement.

As soon as the Indian players, without pacers Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma, trudged into the ground, coach Duncan Fletcher seemed to have suddenly turned pensive as he walked up to the middle and saw a moist and grassy pitch.

The curator Steve Rouse though wrapped his arm around Fletcher and apparently offered a few words of encouragement.  The two obviously share a certain bonhomie going back to Fletcher's stint as England coach in last decade.

The tell-tale signs of a team in the midst of an immense crisis after losing back-to-back Tests were apparent in the body language of the players and the team management.

Soon Fletcher's wards converged on to the middle, playing a round of football which lasted a bit longer than such sessions usually do. There were occasional sounds of whoops and shrieks but generally it had the appearance of a dispirited team.

With Praveen and Ishant being kept under the wraps, the Indian batsmen struggled for proper simulation of the fiery attack of England they would come up against in less than 48 hours in the third Test beginning here from August 10.

Three batsmen - Virender Sewhag, Gautam Gambhir and Rahul Dravid - were at once in the nets but they largely had to make do with the Indian spinners, including Ojha who has now joined the Indian ranks, and a couple of strong lads which the host association loaned to the visiting team.

Sachin Tendulkar went through his, by now, customary drill of squaring up to throw downs. It was the turn of fielding coach Trevor Penny who responded to the great man's call. PTI