India uncowered by blast, Kaif down with fever

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Colombo:Despite the steady downpour threatening to wash off the tournament and bomb blast leaving a trail of terror behind, Team India skipper Rahul Dravid asserted that the Men in Blue have not lost the focus and will put their best foot forward as they lock horns with hosts Sri Lanka in their Unitech Cup opener here tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Kaif today skipped the practice with slight fever.

''He is down with fever and some nose blockade. So we decided to take precaution and he didn't come for practice,'' Dravid told reporters after the team practice at the R Premadasa Stadium.

Dravid said despite yesterday's blast and the prospect of rain, Team India remains as focused as ever.

''As it may have been a distraction for others, we never lost the focus. It never came as a distraction. Maybe if we can play good cricket tomorrow, people would focus on cricket again,'' he said.

The Indian skipper described the blast as an ''unfortunate'' incident but said his team was not losing its sleep over the it.

''We are very comfortable with the security and the guys are quite relaxed. There is no worry or concern with the security here,'' he said.

More than the blast, Dravid seemed more worried with rain, which has been a regular event with the city.

''I mean it has been like that since we came -- now sunshine, now rain. The Sun seems playing hide-and-seek game. We lost a practice match to rain, but then we have to go with whatever we get.

''Fortunately, we had a full practice session today and the guys enjoyed it,'' he added.

Comeback man Sachin Tendulkar sweated it out in the nets but Dravid was evasive when asked if the Little Champion would open tomorrow.

''I'm not going to disclose it definitely. All I can say is that I have some idea about it and this is for the opposition to guess. I will disclose it only after the toss,'' he said.

He also refused to comment on South Africa's reluctance to participate in the series in the wake of yesterday's blast and the Indian captain also said he had no idea of a new schedule.

''I'm not aware of the developments but all I know is that tomorrow w''ll be playing our first game of the tournament against Sri Lanka,'' adding, ''I expect the outfield to be heavy because of the continuous rain.'' After spending time in the gym and swimming pool, India finally had a good, rigorous practice at the Premadasa Stadium under coach Greg Chappell's watchful eyes.

Tendulkar and Dravid batted first, followed by Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh. Mahendra Singh Dhoni was clearly the most popular player with the sparse crowd chanting his name.

Sehwag and Tendulkar also practiced bowling, playing pranks in between. Part-time bowlers like Dinesh Mongia, Suresh Raina, and Yuvraj Singh also bowled in the nets.

Dhoni also rolled his arm, as did selector and team manager Sanjay Jagdale, a medium pacer of his era who tried some off-breaks.

Irfan Pathan, pale shadow of himself in the West Indies series, was more keen on fitness drills while Yuvraj was most impressive in the nets.

Write Comments