ICL: Indian Cricket League

Patel, fierce and in full flow at nets


Seeking to be back in the light from the dark allegations of having hidden an injury during the South African tour, Munaf Patel had leading Indian batsmen hiding to avoid injury at his fitness test today. In a fiery 20-minute spell at nets, under the watchful eyes of chairman of national selectors Dilip Vengsarkar, Patel troubled India’s batting stars to prove that out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean out of bite too.

Sachin Tendulkar ducked just in time to a vicious short ball, Rahul Dravid thanked his thigh pad as he missed a violent in-cutter and Sourav Ganguly’s last moment intervention with a limp bat saw him avoid a savage bouncer headed for his visor.

These three blows at the seasoned batsmen meant there will be enough voices at the think-tank’s meeting with first hand experience to vouch for Munaf’s fitness and ferociousness.

One of those voices will be that of skipper Rahul Dravid, who had this to say just minutes after he faced Patel. “Just watching Munaf at the nets today, even though he was not in the squad, was good… the way he was running in and bowling. We needed to find out whether he had come back fit and from what I’ve seen in the nets that’s heartening,” he said.

Dravid’s conformation came in the afternoon but there was someone at the nets who was confident about Patel’s return: Irfan Pathan. “I had to bowl at the Indian batsmen, but more importantly, I had to be alongside my friend during his trial,” he says.

“When Munna first came to Vadodara to play serious cricket, we bonded well and I helped him with a few things. These days we constantly keep in touch. Whenever he is abroad he calls me to ask what he should get for me,” he said.

This morning when Pathan went to pick Patel, the star bowler showed no nerves despite the fact that he was labelled the guilty party after the fuzziness over his fitness clearance for the final Test in South Africa. “All he told me was ‘despite the break I will come through this trial’. Even when he was bowling he just came up to me to ask if the bowling was going well,” he said.

Source:Cricket News

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 31st, 2007 and is filed under General.

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