India and the West Indies are taking contrasting routes en route to their ICC Champions Trophy clash here The Oval on Tuesday. While India remained confined to their team hotel for the third successive day on Sunday, the Caribbeans are mixing business and pleasure in equal proportion.
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India's 'cagey' policies have as not only left the media on a sticky wicket but even befuddled local organisers. Even the West Indian team management is quietly curious. "Three days without training? That's quite a surprise, maan," said a senior member of the Caribbean entourage. (Read: New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by 1 wicket)
The Indians had long sessions at the gym and spent playing aquatic games in their hotel pool to "de-stress" and get their energies back before Tuesday's clash. India won their opening match against South Africa in Cardiff on Thursday and two full points against the West Indies will surely clinch them a semifinal berth. (Read: We have the right balance to beat India, says Marlon Samuels)
Winners in the 2004 edition of the Champions Trophy in England, the Caribbeans are having a lot of fun. They won a close match against Pakistan, but continue to remain a massive threat with several players who can turn match-winners on their day. (Read: Pakistan not new to pressure games, says Misbah ul-Haq)
One of them, Chris Gayle, is just not worried with pitch-side battles. The big Jamaican has been hitting London's popular tourist spots and enjoying the Thames breeze as the sun played hide and seek with the clouds.
One of the best ways to prepare for a big game is to remain tension-free and yet stay focused. The West Indians are doing just that under coach Ottis Gibson and manager Richie Richardson. The duo supervised a three-and-half-hour training session at The Oval on Sunday.
Complete with football, batting and bowling, the Caribbeans were in jovial mood with no hint of over-confidence. The media was kept happy too. Marlon Samuels spent a good time with the Press, most of whom were Indians, who turned up to watch the Caribbeans train.
The ploy to keep them at arm's length has left the media feeling denied as rival teams see this Indian 'abstinence' as a hint of arrogance.