After a minor fire lit up proceeding on Saturday, the second day of India’s preparatory camp ahead of the Australia series concluded without an event of equal note. Sunday was spent by MS Dhoni’s squad at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium as they engaged in the rote and routine of regular activity, beginning with fielding drills and finishing with all participants turning their arm over or getting a hit in the middle.
It warrants a mention, however, that Sachin Tendulkar was bowled twice in quick succession against the nets medium pacers, the first dismissal a horrid played on, the second a cleaner clatter into the woodwork.
After lunch, bowling coach Joe Dawes took aside Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma and Ashok Dinda to the nets and made them work to a distinct plan. For the off-spinner, markers were placed on what would be a leg-stump line to a left-hander.
The Australian team which takes on India in a four-Test series from February 22 is packed with southpaws, including Ed Cowan, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Phil Hughes and Mathew Wade, hence the emphasis on someone who will spin the ball away from the batsmen.
Harbhajan obliged by getting at least a couple of deliveries to rip sharply across after pitching on the designated spot. The 32-year-old, who was selected after being dropped halfway through the England series last year, has played 99 Tests and is desperately seeking a 100th cap on comeback.
Ishant and Dinda, who along with rookie Bhuvneshwar Kumar comprise India’s pace attack, were asked by Dawes - a former Queensland paceman - to maintain a middle stump line at just short of good length, while the coach faced them with a stump in hand. Dinda let loose a couple of stinging leg-cutters, while Ishant, who was counseled frequently by the man in-charge, was asked to check his tendency of delivering round-arm.
Opener Virender Sehwag was again spotted batting with spectacles on. It was later reported that Sehwag was suffering from frequent headaches and has been prescribed corrective lenses as a remedy.
Towards closing time, Tendulkar interacted with a group of visually impaired children, who had congregated to not just greet the little master but also convince him to play one last ODI. Tendulkar had announced his retirement from ODIs this past December. Since then, several online campaigns have been urging the maestro to reconsider and play one last match before his doting fans.
Monday, the third and last day of the camp, will engage players in indoor conditioning for the first half, followed by nets after. The team leaves for Chennai, where the first Test is scheduled, on February 19.