Suresh Raina practices hard before Chennai game
The focus was purely on Suresh Raina, both before, and after, the three-hour long practice session here at the ITT Chemplast Cricket Ground on Thursday.
The southpaw, who plays for local Indian Premier League (IPL) team Chennai Super Kings, was the first to hit the nets, evoking a huge roar from a flock of engineering students, who gathered around the fence to watch their heroes.
Sources say that Suresh Raina is almost certain to play Sunday's game against West Indies. In Raina, India will add to their XI a finisher, more than useful off-spinner, and outstanding fielder. On Thursday, for the first 30 minutes, Raina bowled his off-spin, before enjoying an extended batting session.
Meanwhile, in a practice that the media fraternity has now come to expect, the Indian team delayed their schedule 1400 hrs practice session by 50 minutes, and arrived sans MS Dhoni and Virender Sehwag. The latter is suffering from a swollen knee, while the skipper is down with a minor flu/cold.
One of the three nets saw Gary Kirsten throw down to Sachin Tendulkar while spinners Suresh Raina, Piyush Chawla, R Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh, and Yusuf Pathan operated at the second and pacers Munaf Patel, S Sreesanth, Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan trained at the third.
In a funny turn of events, Chawla was seen bowling left-arm orthodox spin, and Sreesanth trying his hand at leg-breaks. Nehra wasn't into the act for the first hour or so, before bowling from a shortened run-up ? clear indicator that India would persist with Munaf as the second seamer. Ashwin, who grew up playing at this very ground representing the Jolly Rovers Club in the local league, is almost certain to join Harbhajan as the second spinner on Sunday.