Indian team continues to be dogged by illness June 28, 2007

Sreesanth ruled out of second ODI

Cricinfo staff



Sreesanth misses out once again © AFP
The Indian team had mixed news from the sick bay ahead of the second ODI against South Africa on Friday. While S Sreesanth has been ruled out of the match, and Gautam Gambhir was also deemed unfit, MS Dhoni and Ajit Agarkar appeared to be ready for selection.

"Sreesanth is still not well. He's definitely not well enough to play tomorrow (Friday)", said Rahul Dravid, the India captain, after the fast bowler did not turn up for practice.

Gautam Gambhir, the opening batsman, has also joined the sick list. "Gautam Gambhir has also had a bit of a viral fever so he's in the hotel".

"Ajit Agarkar and Dhoni seem to have recovered but we would have loved to have had them practice today because they've not played cricket for a week and to have an idea of exactly how they are feeling", Dravid added

Heavy rain meant that the Indian team could not have an outdoor practice session and instead had to settle for gym work.

Dravid said that the flu-related illness within the Indian team was continuing to pose selection problems.

"We have an idea but it's all dependent on who is fully fit and available. We will have to wait on Gautam [Gambhir] and see how he is before we make a call on that.

Meanwhile, Ranadeb Bose and Ishant Sharma, the emergency reinforcements, have joined the team after arriving on Wednesday.

Dravid responded to comments from Mickey Arthur, the South Africa coach, that India would be weakened without the presence of a genuine allrounder in their squad.

"In these sort of conditions we have used Sourav Ganguly, used Sachin Tendulkar a little bit and we used Yuvraj Singh in the last game because the spinners were bowling well and against the South Africans we thought he might be quite handy".

"You've just got to see who is best for the conditions. If there was one guy we were using all the time we wouldn't need a part-time bowler", he said.

Arthur said Dale Steyn, the fast bowler, and Thandi Tshabalala, the off-spinner, could give the Proteas' attack increased variety on Friday. They are struggling with flu but Arthur expects them to play - and possibly play a crucial role.

"I've done a lot of analysis of our last performance," Arthur said. "And the only thing I can think of is I still think between overs 20-35 we are still a little bit predictable, if you look at the likes of Andrew Hall, Vernon Philander and Jacques Kallis bowling in that area, they are all pretty much the same. I really want to see Steyn and Tshabalala tomorrow. We need to go home with some answers. We need them bowling at the Tendulkars, the Dravids the Sourav Gangulys and Yuvraj Singhs."

Spin has been a problem area for South Africa for some time and whether Tshabalala, known for firing the ball in at the stumps, is the answer against high-class batsmen, remains to be seen. Steyn is a more experienced cricketer and this season has also been playing for English county Warwickshire.

"Maybe they will give us the variation we are looking for", Arthur said. "We were criticised a lot in terms of the variation of our attack - and I think that criticism was true. We need to find a spinner, and the other variation you can have is express pace - which Dale Steyn does bring to the party."

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