England in India 2012-13 November 10, 2012

Zaheer, Tendulkar tune up at preparatory camp


Zaheer Khan exuded purpose and found his rhythm, Sachin Tendulkar's back-foot punch made regular appearances and the India squad seemingly had a fairly satisfactory five hours of practice on day two of their three-day preparatory camp in Mumbai ahead of the England Test series. While the players had practised for a little more than an hour on Friday, today was their first proper workout as a Test side in the nine weeks since the New Zealand series.

Again, like on day one of the camp, all eyes were on Zaheer. Whatever he does on the field is closely scrutinised, such has been his tendency to break down, combined with his importance to India's Test side. Over the years, Zaheer has missed or pulled out during several big series due to injury. He had pulled up sore during Mumbai's Ranji Trophy opener against Railways last week. On Friday, Zaheer had spent the majority of his time on the massage table. He eventually did bowl for a while but was clearly not extending himself.

These days, it takes him an eternity to warm up. There is a pronounced cautiousness to his stretches and squats as if he is worried when something might snap somewhere in his body. Today, though, with the ball in hand he looked a different man. He started with a few gentle ones before increasing the speed of both his run-up and his deliveries. His focus seemed to be on targeting the angle across the right-hand batsmen. Though he was not unplayable, he tested the batsmen. What was good to see was that he remained intense throughout his spell - and it wasn't a short one. Zaheer bowled for about forty minutes in the first session, and again for a similar period of time after the lunch interval.

Another key player who had been tentative on Friday, Tendulkar, also looked a different man today. He faced the three India fast bowlers - Zaheer, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav - with control, and without too many problems. The leaves were confident, the straight pushes were firm and, soon, the trademark back-foot punches appeared. He stood on his toes to send a rising Ishant delivery through extra cover. He pressed far forward to drive him down the ground. When Ishant moved one in close to off stump, Tendulkar left it safely and nodded towards the bowler in appreciation.

Unlike yesterday when they had batted in the nets, the batsmen played today against proper fields. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir started off, followed by Cheteshwar Pujara and Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh, and Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni. M Vijay, the reserve opener, batted along with the bowlers, who were out in full strength today with Harbhajan Singh joining the squad. Harbhajan came out in the second session, and after a lengthy fielding drill that included slip catching, and bowled to his fellow bowlers.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vikranth on November 13, 2012, 20:25 GMT

    Both Zaheer and tendulkar Should Consider retiring if they Under perform or get Injured Probably they should consider playing only ONe format.Also both these players are not playing continuously in any of the formats. This will spoil the Team combination and compositions. Also it will do good for other players Confidence if hes replaced by these players after performing well. Either Play well and Continuously without Injuries or give Way for Others.

  • Raam on November 13, 2012, 13:51 GMT

    It makes me tired to read of SRT and JHK comparisions. I think both are Greats. If I was a Promoter that wanted to fill up stadia then I would want SRT to play. If I was a Captain and I had to choose between the two I would pick JHK anyday.

  • Par on November 12, 2012, 18:27 GMT

    OMG.. If only this was real test match in happening. But no, this is just some more PR initiative, so I will go back to reading about the Ranji update or Australia-SA test. Well goodluck in 3 days time, when Test matches begin

  • Srinivas on November 12, 2012, 16:02 GMT

    Unfortunately, our selectors don't have it in them to put Statchin out of his misery.

  • Virag on November 12, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - are u honestly implying that Ganguly handled his retirement the best ? Ganguly still remains the only 'senior' to be kicked out of the Indian Test Team while others chose to retire. So i dont think Ganguly did the best, I think the team Management dd the best with Ganguly , and they should do the same with the current set of non-performing players ( seniors or juniors , should not matter) .

  • victoria on November 12, 2012, 12:50 GMT

    Greater batsmen than Tendulkar like Bradman, Lara, Richards, Gavascar, Sobers, Inzamam Ul Haq and others could have gone on to break or secure more records but they were not that type of petty professionals. They knew when to leave it to the youths. Example, Bradman could have played one more innings and scored one run for a perfect average of 100; but he thought he had nothing to prove by doing that, so he packed it up; Brian Lara too could have played two or three more innings and break Mr Tendulkar's record for the most 100s; but Lara too had nothing to prove by doing that; so he too packed up. Gavascar could have gone on to make 52 100s, but he too had nothing to prove; so he packed up so that Tendulkar and other young Indian batsmen could have a fair chance to prove themselves. Sachin is now fearful of Kallis breaking his record; and losing the fight to prevent it, but also bringing down the Indian team with him trying to do. But isn't his legacy more important than his record?

  • Dummy4 on November 12, 2012, 7:05 GMT

    Sachin nd Kallis....two of my favourites. But frankly how can u compare the two??? How many matches has Kallis delivered to SA singlehandedly?? People dont seem to understand the fact that, Sachin Tendulkar was the back bone, or the spine of the Indian cricket team for almost a decade, before Dravid, Saurav nd VVS started playing cricket, and even further till these guys started showing maturity. He played against the WI greats like Walsh nd Ambrose, PAKs like Wasim, Waqar, Saqlain, nd Akthar, AUs like, McGrath, Warne and Lee, SA's Donald, Pollock, Steyn, Morkel, SL's Murali & Vaas, Eng, Caddick, Anderson nd the list goes on.....Shane Warne once said that he used to get nightmares of SRT carting him around...Kallis has had success against all the above mentioned teams, but not with the same bowling lineups. JK belongs to the same team, which is considered to be one of the best attacks in world cricket, nd SRT is a man who humbled them (SRT's centuries in SA in 2011 nd 200* in ODIs)....

  • Ramasamy on November 12, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    @Harmony111 : The haters will hate anyway, no matter if they are right or wrong cz its what they want. They'll always argue the case and analyse the stats the way they want. They very well know they are WRONG but they wont admit it. Like you said, they blame him for anything and everything he does. Even if he scores tons in this series in all matches, they'l come back and say that he can only score in home grounds or English bowlers dint bowl well or some crap like that. I'm afraid that they'l be like that forever, absolutely negative and pathetic, even in their own lives... Sachin is a legend. He is a gem of India and has brought so much of glory, passion and proud to India and cricket. He is people's cricketer and that's why ppl think they own him. Everything he does, ppl see themselves in him. That's why they love him. So, let the haters hate. We will always love him till he dies! Love you sachin. All the best!

  • Al on November 12, 2012, 0:57 GMT

    Sachin and Sehwag are walking wickets these days. It seems they are not playing for India, but for the opposition. No amount of practice will help him reduce his age. He missed a golden opportunity to retire after World Cup 2011 on a high. Now he is in a very unenviable position - unable to score, but unable to retire. Our selectors should put him out of his misery by dropping him.

  • Harmon on November 11, 2012, 19:46 GMT

    There are some people who first say that scoring 50 or 60 or 100 100s is not the benchmark to judge a player's greatness and then these same people say that Sachin has scored only x 100s in the last y tests/ODIs. Aren't these people confused? If Sachin scores 100s then he is labelled as selfish even if it is the others who failed to match him. If Sachin scores 50s then he is described as falling. If Sachin scores 30s and 40s then he is described as spent. If Sachin scores 10s and 20s then he is described as stubborn and sticky. Then ppl start asking when was the last time he scored a 100 and that Kallis has x 100s in y Tests (but Kallis is not said to be selfish). And if he scores a 100 again then he is described as being selfish again. Some people can be vicious.....

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