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|November 25, 1999||
Indians wet their feet at the Gabba -- an eyewitness reportMohammad Shadab Aizaz
This morning, the Indians were due at the Gabba -- the Wooloongabba, to give it its full name -- at 9 am for a practise session. However, the session was delayed due to rain.
I reached the ground at around 11 am and, where I had been expecting to see a big crowd of fans, I was surprised to see a dozen or so people -- eight or so presspeople, the same number of fans.
Dravid, Bharadwaj, Srinath and Ganguly were the players I saw batting in the nets, while the likes of Agarkar, Kumaran, Mohanty, Prasad, Srinath, Tendulkar and Kapil Dev bowling, along with a few of the local Aussies.
Mohanty and Kumaran I thought were particularly impressive -- the former with his swing, and the latter with some decided nip and pace in his bowling. Agarkar did not seem as effective as the other two, but seemed to be working hard, bowling non-stop for the hour or more that I was there.
I also witnessed something I didn't quite like -- after his batting practise, Ganguly was waved over by Kapil Dev and asked to take part in fielding practise, but the batsman sort of wandered over to where his kit was and hung around there. Ramesh, MSK Prasad, Gandhi and Mohanty however quickly joined Kapil at fielding practise. After a while, Kumble took over from Kapil in leading the practise, while the Indian coach went to where Ganguly was, to give him batting practise, chucking the ball from a short distance at the batsman.
Tendulkar was seen doing a lot of bowling, and he even managed to beat Dravid on a few occasions. Meanwhile, in the batting nets, Kapil was seen giving tips to Bharadwaj and, later, Srinath when they were taking their turn at bat.
The session ended around noon, and we were told that another session has been scheduled for 9 am tomorrow, ahead of their first tour game.
After the practise session, Kapil responded to questions from the media. Excerpts:
Any predictions about the outcome of the series?
Kapil: I do not make predictions...and if anyone could predict the outcome then there is no point for us to come here and play *laughs*
India is currently ranked 5th in the world in Test cricket, your views on that?
Kapil: *after a pause*..Sachin and I do not really care about this...we are here to play the game and enjoy it, and try and do well.
How are bowlers feeling, and how many will play tomorrow against Queensland?
Kapil: The bowlers should not get carried away thinking that the bouncy wickets here will assist them....they have to work hard at the same time. About the team, I think most of the bowlers will play tomorrow, to give them a go.
Editor's note: The author of this article, Mohammad Shadab Aizaz, is a native of South Brisbane and, obviously, a cricket fan. We are looking for those of you out there who are interested in helping Rediff cover the Indian tour. Do read this appeal, and respond, we are waiting to hear from you. Thanks.
Mail Prem Panicker
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