India ready to move into top gear

Published: Wednesday, December 1, 1999, 5:30 [IST]
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Sydney: The Olympic city turned up with its best to welcome the Indian cricket team on the first day of the summer down under. On a beautiful sunny day with temperature hovering around 25 degrees, the picturesque Sydney Cricket Ground was buzzing with excitement with hundreds of fans and media persons watching the talented Indian cricket team to undertake a rigorous work-out before tomorrow's important four-day encounter with the New South Wales.

Indian cricket captain Sachin Tendulkar will sit out as the coach Kapil Dev pointed out, ''it was the only break Tendulkar would get before the three-test series starting in Adelaide on December 10." India have also surprisingly left out young offspinner Harbhajan Singh, while the NSW blues rested their four test players but included the latest new bowl sensation Brett Lee (12th man for the Perth test against Pakistan), considered to be the fastest bowler in Australia (measured up to 150 km/h).

Rahul Dravid will keep wickets, allowing MSK Prasad to sit at the pavilion. Tomorrow's match is the last first class match, before India take on a belligerent Australia in the opening test. Both, the Indian skipper and the coach attached great importance to the tomorrow's match and wanted to move into the top gear with the best available line up.

'Australia exemplifies the best professionalism in test cricket and for our boys to have any chance against the Steve Waugh's side, the batting has to come good,'' Indian team manager commented, while keen eyes and camera lenses of Sydney's TV and media, focussed on the Indian squad with a mysterious sense of high expectations.

Karnataka trio of Anil Kumble, Venkatesh Prasad and Javagal Srinath also had a long workout, which would relish bowling at the beautiful SCG turf. Sachin also sent down couple of leg spinners to Saurav Ganguly to better equip him to face the NSW leggie Stuart MacGill, ''don't worry about full tosses, keep mixing up your googlies,'' Saurav said jokingly.


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