Final call on Kumble, Ishant tomorrow; India have optional practice

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Ahmedabad, Apr 1 (UNI) The Indians had an off day with only the junior players turning up for optional practice under the hot sun at the Sardar Patel stadium here today.

However, the Indian captain Anil Kumble who is suffering from a groin niggle turned up for practice and the final call on his availibility for the second Test against South Africa along with that of young speedster Ishant Sharma will be made tomorrow after a fitness assessment of both players.

Both Kumble and Ishant bowled decent spells at the optional nets in the Sardar Patel stadium, Motera, and the Indian team management will be anxious to have them fit in the wake of Sachin Tendulkar's unavailability due to a groin injury.

Only seven players, including Murali Kartik who is recovering from an ankle injury, came to the optional practice session today and the latter was put through his paces mildly by team physiotherapist Paul Close.

Kumble, who has a groin niggle sustained in Chennai, and Ishant recovering from an injured finger and toe - bowled at the nets mostly against Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif who had lengthy stints with the bat.

The Indian captain later indicated that he was feeling better which should bring cheers to the Indian camp.

If nets sessions are an indication, Yuvraj is almost a certainty to take Tendulkar's place in the middle order after he had been asked to bat on three different net wickets by coach Gary Kirsten.

In that case Kaif, who last played a Test for India in June 2006 in Kingston, Jamaica, will have to wait to regain his spot.

The other players who attended the nets were all-rounder Irfan Pathan and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, both of whom warmed the benches in the series opener.

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