Kumble, Ishant to be assessed on Wednesday

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/k/kumble_afp.jpg' class='caption'> A final call on the availability of Anil Kumble and Ishant Sharma for the second Test will be taken on Wednesday after a fitness assessment of both players

Updated: April 15, 2008 12:19 IST
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A final call on the availability of captain Anil Kumble and young speedster Ishant Sharma for the second cricket Test against South Africa will be taken on Wednesday after a fitness assessment of both players.

Both Kumble and Ishant bowled decent spells at the optional nets at the Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium, Motera, and the Indian team management will be anxious to have them fit in the wake of Sachin Tendulkar's unavailability due to a groin injury.

Only seven players, including Murali Kartik who is recovering from an ankle injury, came to the optional practice session on Tuesday and the latter was put through his paces mildly by team physiotherapist Paul Close.

Kumble, who has a groin niggle sustained in Chennai, and Ishant recovering from an injured finger and toe - bowled at the nets mostly against Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif who had lengthy stints with the bat.

Kumble later indicated that he was feeling better which should bring cheers to the Indian camp.

If nets sessions are an indication, Yuvraj is almost a certainty to take Tendulkar's place in the middle order after he had been asked to bat on three different net wickets by coach Gary Kirsten.

In that case Kaif, who last played a Test for India in June 2006 in Kingston, Jamaica, will have to wait to regain his spot.

The other players who attended the nets today were all-rounder Irfan Pathan and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, both of whom warmed the benches in the series opener.

Meanwhile, the organisers of the match, Gujarat Cricket Association, have warned spectators not to indulge in any racist comments aimed at players, officials or fellow spectators.

A prominent notice put up at the entrance of the pavilion says: 'Spectators shall not indulge in any conduct, act towards or speak to any player or official or other spectators in a manner which offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies that other person on the basis of that person's race, religion, colour, nationality or ethnic origin.' It may be recalled that it was at Vadodara last year when racism-related charges against a section of the crowd were levelled by Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds.

The Aussies complained that racist abuses were hurled at the same player in Nagpur and later in Mumbai, after which the presidents of the two Boards issued a joint statement condemning racism in the game.

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