India’s cricketers enjoyed a day out in Sydney’s Bondi beach yesterday but the change of base to Canberra has to be seen as a bigger splash. The tranquil scenes in the capital would have come as a welcome relief after the eventful few days in the hub of Sydney and the next three days should allow them to focus on cricket once again.
India drove down to Canberra this morning, had a two-hour practice session in the afternoon and had a relaxed time in the evening before their warm-up match against the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) at the Manuka Oval. The three-day game will be a 12-a-side affair with India expected to rest several key players.
Dhoni to lead
Anil Kumble has already made it clear that he will sit out, meaning Mahendra Singh Dhoni will take over. Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Pankaj Singh and VRV Singh will be expected to get a chance. “We’ve been in Australia for the last three weeks or more and some guys haven’t had a hit in the middle,” said Kumble. “It’s important we get the best out of the game.”
Yuvraj Singh and Wasim Jaffer, the out-of-form duo, have a chance to gain some confidence. “It’s important that whoever has not been among runs gets among runs,” Kumble said. “This is a good opportunity. We’re away from a real pressure situation. Canberra will provide the kind of environment where you can relax and focus on the game.”
The Indians hit the ground running a few hours after reaching Canberra, starting with a fielding session and going on to have a hit in the nets. Rahul Dravid, who showed signs of coming back to form in Sydney, had a solid net session before purposefully knocking some throw-downs behind the practice area.
It’s a big game for Western Australian opener Chris Rogers, who is in line for an Australian opening slot if Matthew Hayden doesn’t recover from a thigh injury sustained in Sydney. Rogers has managed 362 runs in five Pura Cup matches this season, with two fifties and a hundred. He was vying with Phil Jaques for an opener’s spot in November but an appendix problem ruled him out of the Sri Lanka series. A big score here would surely push his chances, especially given the fact that the third Test is to be held at the WACA, his home ground.
Small state, big chance
The ACT XI competes against the second elevens from the other States in the second division of the Australian domestic league for the Cricket Australia Cup. The fixture offers its side, the Comets, a rare chance against quality opposition. “We struggle because we turn over a lot of players,” said Mark Vergano, the CEO of ACT. “We are more a nursery that helps players move out to bigger states. We win 50% of our matches in the second division.”
Marcus Pamplin, the curator, has prepared a good batting track, and one that will last four days. It may seam around a bit early but might be a far cry from what the team can expect in Perth.
Indians (likely) 1 Wasim Jaffer, 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 Rahul Dravid, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Dinesh Karthik, 6 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt, wk), 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 VRV Singh, 10 Pankaj Singh, 11 Ishant Sharma, 12 RP Singh
ACT Invitational XI (from) Mark Higgs (capt), Jonathon Dean, John Rogers, Randall Starr, James Crosthwaite, Adam Ritchard, Richard Sherlock, Luke Swards, Ryan Bulger, Chris Rogers, Ed Cowan, Ash Perera.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Australia, India, India in Australia 2007, Mahendra Singh Dhoni
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, January 11th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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