Nagpur: Indian off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin skipped Indian team's optional practice session on Tuesday at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha where the fourth and final match of the series gets under way from December 13.
"It was an optional net session," informed Indian team's manger Sathish when contacted for the reason for the offie's absence from today's training.
Barring Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla and new inclusion Parwinder Awana - who were on Ranji Trophy duty for their respective states, the others were present during the two and a half hour training session of the team.
"Ashwin is resting at the team hotel. Rahane will join the team later today along with Jadeja while Awana will be reaching here tomorrow. Chawla is already here playing the Ranji game for Uttar Pradesh (against Vidarbha at the old VCA stadium)," a VCA official informed.
Meanwhile, the wicket looked dry and baked under the sun in surprisingly warm conditions and the ground staff seemed to have stopped watering it.
The curator has been told not to talk to the media and was unavailable for comments and it's not certain whether the pitch will last for five days.
A huge controversy has erupted over the demand of India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for square turners from day one after India won the first game at Ahmedabad.
England had a training session at the venue this morning and Stuart Broad, who had picked up a heel injury earlier on the tour, limped off. In any case, he was unlikely to be considered in the playing XI after being dropped for the Kolkata failing to get any wicket in the earlier two Test matches.
England off-spinner Graeme Swann, who has taken 17 wickets in the three Test matches so far at just over 24 per wicket, said he can't comment about the pitch as he didn't have a proper look at the wicket.
"I don't know. I haven't seen the pitch yet. We went straight out to the nets," he told reporters after the training session.
Swann was not too concerned about the wicket.
"It doesn't matter what you believe because we will know whatever happens on Thursday morning. I am sure the management and coach will look at it and they will assess it. We play on it whatever comes on Thursday," he said.
"It is normally a good pitch here and I am expecting it to be that. Whatever the pitch is, we have to try and win the game," he added.
Swann said the aim would be to win the opening session of the Test, which was what led to their team victory at Mumbai and Kolkata.
"So come Thursday morning, it will be about winning the first session, something which we have managed to do in the last two Test matches and it is why we have gone on to win the match," he remarked.
This is the fourth Test to be played at this Stadium that hosted the first match in 2008 against Australia, the last tie played by former India skipper Sourav Ganguly.
India have a 2-1 win-loss record at this ground, having beaten Australia by 172 runs in November, 2008, lost to South Africa by an innings and 6 runs in February, 2010 and beaten New Zealand by an innings and 198 runs in November, 2010.
Story first published on: Tuesday, 11 December 2012 18:09 IST