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India sweat over Ganguly's fitness

A fitness worry for Sourav Ganguly has compounded India's batting problems ahead of the second Test at Trent Bridge

Yuvraj Singh might get to play at Trent Bridge if Sourav Ganguly is declared unift © Bipin Patel
A fitness worry for Sourav Ganguly has compounded India's batting problems ahead of the second Test against England on Friday at Trent Bridge. Ganguly, suffering from a stiff back, opted not to face the bowling machine as the Indian batsmen practised indoors at the National Cricket Centre in the Loughborough University premises, a forty-minute drive from Trent Bridge.
"Sourav has got a stiff back, I am sure he will be fine tomorrow," Yuvraj Singh said after the session. Rocky Rufus, the team's administrative manager, said he had a slight lower back strain. "There's nothing to worry about, he should be able come out for practice for tomorrow", Rufus said.
Ganguly was in visible discomfort during the second innings of the Lord's Test, hobbling towards the end of the fourth day. Ironically, Yuvraj is the likely replacement if Ganguly doesn't regain fitness in time for the second game. "I would love to play, but it is not in my hands whether I play or not," Yuvraj said when asked if he was readying himself for the match. "We will see how it goes in the next two days."
The Indians were originally supposed to practice at Trent Bridge but changed their plans this morning because of incessant showers. The practice itself saw some innovations, with the batsmen trying out strokes with the wrong hand against deliveries bowled underarm. Ganguly did take part in that session, batting right-handed, and even padded up to face the bowling machine later but decided against it towards the end. The senior bowlers weren't present and it was mainly Ishant Sharma and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the wicketkeeper, who did the bowling.
More rain is expected over the next few days and the weather could again have the final say as it did in the first Test. Yuvraj said the batsmen were aware of the possibilities of rain. "It's been raining over here so we are well prepared for it. All our batsmen are obviously geared up and we know that we need to get a big score on the board. The Lord's pitch was quite a good one to bat on but it suddenly changed after the rain. We have played here before and know these things can happen. We can't say much about the weather but it is a fresh start. The first Test is already gone, it is a new day and a new Test match and anything can happen. "

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is assistant editor of Cricinfo