हिन्दीಕನ್ನಡമലയാളംதமிழ்తెలుగు

Conditioning camp for new-look Team India begins

Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Kolkata:Officially fitness and fielding would be the thrust areas with an overhauled Team India looking to put behind them the World Cup disappointments as they begin their camp ahead of a crucial Bangladesh tour.

If Team India was not so talented that it could bring home the World Cup, it was not so pedestrian that it was meant to return after the first round.

But it has happened and the aftermath is evident. A new cricket manager in Ravi Shastri, bowling coach in Venkatesh Prasad and fielding coach in Robin Singh have been appointed.

The camp, to be held in two sessions daily, is the first assignment for skipper Rahul Dravid's boys after the World Cup debacle that triggered nationwide protests, a slew of controversies and measures of austerity employed by the Board on the players.

Like every unsuccessful World Cup, this was no exception. The man who was meant to take India to the heights never took off the team which caught nation's imagination with a tennis score like 6-1 win over Sri Lanka, ironically went down timely against the same opposition.

The end of Chappell era and appointment of stop-the-rot cricket manager Ravi Shastri means India will now think and strategise anew.

If Chappell's tenure was characterised by a series of experiments and a stress on 'look ahead' policy, the new era stresses on ''optimism, positive attitude and enjoying the game''.

Ravi Shastri is supposed to have said during the thinktank's meeting that the players should have a positive attitude and enjoy the game.

''There will be general fitness sessions and not rigorous ones, with a tour round the corner,'' team's administrative manager Surendra Bhave told newsperson on Tuesday. But behind the apparant placidity is an undercurrent of activity.

Even as the World Cup was on, the BCCI met to select a team both for the Tests and the ODIs to Bangladesh. Ofcourse this selection would be different from the last time India went to Bangladesh under Sourav Ganguly and John Wright, the most sucessful combination that India has produced till date.

Skipper Rahul Dravid's two most veteran brothers-in-arm Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly has been oficially 'rested' for the ODIs. However, another icon Kapil Dev feels otherwise.

''For me rules can't be different for different cricketers. All of them are same. How can some be treated differently. There are no half measures. Either you take them or you drop them. For me they were dropped,'' he said.

Sehwag's persistent problems with the incoming cherries meant he won't be a safe bet in the Tests and continues in the ODI side. The trade-off is complete for the three most senior players. In comes a host of youngsters.

Enter Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik and rookies Manoj Tewari and Piyush Chawla. And the inconsistant brilliance of Wasim Jaffer returns with him being drafted back to the side. Journeyman Dinesh Mongia gets yet another chance to redeem himself.

Harbhajan Singh, Ajit Agarkar and Irfan Pathan have been dropped from both squads and sent back to the classrooms of doemstic cricket.

Meanwhile, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel and Zaheer Khan retain their place. Test specialists Anil Kumble and VVS Laxman are back too.

Finally, five extra bowlers are attending the training camp in Kolkata. Pankaj Singh, Vijaykumar Yomahesh, Ishant Sharma, Ranadeb Bose, all medium pacers, and Pragyan Ojha, the young Hyderabad left-arm spinner, will train with the Indian team, although they will not be in contention for a place in the Bangladesh squad. The look-for-youth policy is thus taken care of.

The five-day camp begins with the crown sitting queerly on the head of the skipper. The thrust is on the fitness and fielding. But Dravid it seems cried out aloud for 'playing as an unit' behind the closed-door brainstorming 48 hours before the camp began.

The players trooped into the city in batches on Tuesday all day long with the last batch coming around nine pm in the night. The arrangements for the camp is complete even before the players were in.

Thus this seems more a camp of soul searching, a vow to rise higher and preparing with a renewed vengence for a new beginning.

And the only mantra seems to be of crushing the oppostion.

Fielding session gets underway: The Indian team sans V V S Laxman and Dinesh Kaarthik came to Eden Gardens in the morning and had a fielding and fitness session for 75 minutes before packing off even as the summer sun scorched the park.

The regime consisted of jogging and stretching for about half an hour. The players looked fresh and the gloom of the World Cup debacle did not surface in their body language.

Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh then took charge of the boys leading them through the fielding regime that included catching and ground fielding.

Laxman would join the camp on Thursday while Karthik, who got married yesterday is expected to join on the last day of the camp.

Sachin twists ankle while batting: Sachin Tendulkar limped out of the ground after twisting his ankle while batting at the nets at Eden Gardens today.

The incident took place while Sachin ducked awkwardly to avoid a Sreesanth bouncer and in the process he apparently twisted his left ankle.

'' Sachin is there in the ground and the injury apparently doesn't look very serious,'' Indian team local manager N Ojha said.

ODI squad:

Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Dinesh Karthik (standby wk), Manoj Tiwary, Dinesh Mongia, Piyush Chawla, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan and RP Singh.

Test squad:

Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid (capt), VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Anil Kumble, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, VRV Singh, Ramesh Powar, Rajesh Pawar and Munaf Patel.

Coach-cum-manager: Ravi Shastri, Bowling coach: Venkatesh Prasad and Fielding coach: Robin Singh.

Agencies

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