Sixteen Indian pace bowlers, picked as part of the 36 probables, gathered in Bangalore on June 27 for a week-long pre-season physical fitness and conditioning camp at the National Cricket Academy. This will be the first time that the bowlers will interact with Greg Chappell, India's new coach, and the camp, which will be followed by two more, also kickstarts India's season, one that involves four challenging series against Sri Lanka, England, Pakistan and West Indies.
The pace-bowlers' camp has been designed to put the bowlers in top shape ahead of the hectic international schedule, starting with the triangular one-day series in Sri Lanka, also involving the West Indies, later this month. "We are obviously focusing on the fitness and conditioning for the fast bowlers," said Gregory King, the team's trainer, who has chalked out the programme in consultation with Chappell and John Gloster, the physiotherapist.
The 16-man list announced by Indian selectors last week is a mix of established bowlers and those on the fringes of selection. Irfan Pathan has been exempted from attending this camp and allowed to continue his commitments with Middlesex. Others attending the camp are Lakshmipathy Balaji, Ajit Agarkar, Shib Shankar Paul, Ranadeb Bose, Sree Santh, Munaf Patel, Rajamani Jesuraj, Amit Bhandari, Siddharth Trivedi, Joginder Sharma, Gagandeep Singh and Harvinder Singh. Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Jai Prakash Yadav had not arrived when the camp began yesterday morning but officials said they were expected later in the day.
The camp will not be 'very different' from previous camps, King said. "Fitness is fitness. There will be a couple of new ideas. But generally the camp will be the same". Yoga is also part of the fitness programme, which would see bowlers undergoing training in morning and afternoon sessions. "You will get injured from time to time," King added. "We will try to make sure that occurrence of injuries is minimised. There is no way we can control injuries."