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Indian players have vigorous work-out

Special Correspondent

Tendulkar, who is playing his sixth World Cup, still harbours an infectious enthusiasm

— Photo: G.P. Sampath Kumar

SMASHING HIT:Virat Kohli lofts one to the stands, as captain M.S. Dhoni (left) and Gautam Gambhir watch, during the practice session.

Bangalore: Sachin Tendulkar impishly walked in while M.S. Dhoni and Virat Kohli freed their arms and threatened the upper-tiers of the Chinnaswamy Stadium with massive hits.

Tendulkar gripped the bat and the child in him took centre-stage as he turned around and batted left-handed. He clubbed baseball-style shots and with a neat swivel struck two 6s and one past the ropes while the overawed local net bowlers wheeled away and an amused Yuvraj Singh burst into laughter.

That Tendulkar, who is playing his sixth World Cup, still nurses an infectious enthusiasm is a lesson that will hopefully permeate through the rest of the team as the Indian squad handles the pressure of being one of the leading favourites.

“Gary Kirsten throws a million balls at me,” Tendulkar had said a few months ago and that fact got repeated again while the maestro toyed with the throw-downs.

There was no sign of discomfort as Tendulkar moved his feet and played with assurance while the scare of him undergoing an MRI scan on his left knee at Mumbai recently, was quickly forgotten.

Sehwag skips the nets

Virender Sehwag, meanwhile, skipped the nets for the second consecutive day while all the other players split their training schedules between the KSCA (B) Ground and the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Zaheer Khan had a lengthy fielding drill and his fellow left-arm-seamer Ashish Nehra, who is nursing a sore back, was closeted inside the NCA's gym.

S. Sreesanth, who had a forgettable outing against Bangladesh at Mirpur on Saturday, steamed in hard and Munaf Patel, Piyush Chawla and R. Ashwin too bowled while Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj and Yusuf Pathan batted.

Soon it was time to flex batting muscle as the Indian skipper along with Kohli batted on the centre practice-pitch. ‘Watch your head,' became a steady refrain as the duo kept hoisting the ball with aplomb.

A few chairs in the stands were knocked out and Dhoni, who was tucking into Ashwin and the local spinners, gesticulated to a hesitant Piyush Chawla to bowl. The leg-spinner also became a willing victim in the carnage before Tendulkar stepped in with his left-handed touch to brighten up the day while the venue brimmed with the members of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, who had trooped in for their tickets for the match between India and England here on Sunday.

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