Harbhajan skips third day optional practice session

Saumojyoti S Choudhury

Bangalore, Feb 11 (PTI) The entire Indian cricket team,barring off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, underwent a three-hourtraining session on the penultimate day of the four-day WorldCup preparatory camp here today.

Harbhajan''s absence at the team practice at the NationalCricket Academy raised speculation that he might have pickedup a small injury ahead of the World Cup starting next week inthe sub-continent.

However, it was later learnt from team sources thatHarbhajan skipped the day''s proceedings and preferred to restat his hotel room as it was an optional practice session.

The session started at around 2.30 pm IST at theChinnaswamy Stadium with a football match instead of thecustomary fielding drills after which it shifted base to theNCA nets.

As usual, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and SachinTendulkar were the first to hit the nets followed by skipperMahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli, YusufPathan and Suresh Raina in that order.

Surprisingly, left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra was the lonetailender who, for the second day on trot, seemed moreinterested in nurturing his batting skills at the far end ofthe NCA ground.

Coach Gary Kirsten, who is on his last assignment withthe Indian team, personally monitored all the batsmen whilebowling consultant Eric Simmons attended the bowlers.

Right-arm pacer Munaf Patel yet again impressed as heextracted considerable amount and pace from the wicket.

During the fag end of the session, the quartet of Dhoni,Kohli, Gambhir and Raina also tested their big hittingabilities and smacked the ball to all parts of the ground,some of which landed very close to the handful of fans andmediapersons witnessing the session.

India will conclude their preparatory camp tomorrow afterwhich they play their first practice match against defendingchampions Australian here on Sunday before another one againstNew Zealand in Chennai on February 16.

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