Losers take it easy while winners toil on the field

Kolkata: It was slotted as an optional practice session for India on Tuesday. It was scheduled to begin at 6pm. But even as the groundsmen were getting ready to put up the nets at Eden Gardens, someone informed them that no one would come for training.

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ashok Dinda and Shami Ahmed had arrived on Monday afternoon along with coach Duncan Fletcher and most of the support staff and the rest of the players were supposed to assemble here by Tuesday afternoon.

Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin and Suresh Raina arrived in the afternoon from Mumbai and Chennai. But the flight from Delhi, which had the likes of Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, was delayed and landed only around 6.40pm.

So India, who will have to beat Pakistan at Eden on Thursday to keep the series alive, that too on this ground where they haven't beaten the archrivals, decided to call off practice. Even those who were present took the day off.

After losing to England in the Mumbai Test, there was a nineday gap before the next at Eden. Even then India chose to train just two days as against England who arrived here early and availed of five practice sessions. Most experts were not willing to pin that to the humiliating loss that followed, but Sunil Gavaskar did say it indicated a lack of intensity.

Thus when India's top five batsmen fell to false shots in the opening one-dayer of the series in Chennai, where India were 29 for five at one stage, logic would say that the nets are the only place one could go back to, to rectify faults. The top four were all bowled, three through the gate and Yuvraj Singh played inside the line of the ball.

Pakistan, on the other hand, had a three-hour intense session. “I have a good record on this wicket and I hope I can play a knock that helps Pakistan win,” Younis Khan said on the sidelines of the training. “When a youngster comes into the team he tries to perform, especially when it's an India-Pakistan match. This is the place for youngsters to make their careers. I try to share my experience with the youngsters. A good team is that which hands down experience to the next generation and that is my role in the team,” the 35-year-old batsman said.