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SPORTS-CRICKET-TEAMS-ARRIVED (WITH PHOTOS)

Written by: Staff
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Kochi, Apr 4 (UNI) Amid beating of the traditional ''Chenda'' drums, the Indian and English teams were accorded a warm reception at the Nedumbassery airport and at the team hotel here today.

Both the teams arrived here from Goa to play the fourth ODI match at the Nehru stadium on April six.

They were given a traditional Kerala welcome at the airport, where officials of the Kerala Cricket Association were present.

At the team hotel, Taj Malabar, situated on an island far from the hustle and bustle of this crowded city, the teams were received with traditional honours.

Karnataka opening batsman Robin Uthappa was included in the Indian team for the last four ODIs, in place of out of form Gautam Gambhir, also arrived here this morning.

Except for middle-order batsman Md Kaif, who was eager to get back his batting form, and Y Venugopala Rao turned up at the nets, while the other Indian team members and the English players chose to take a day off from the nets.

In his nearly one hour practice at the ground under searing heat, Kaif looked in solid touch as he hit the ball right from the meat of the bat.

Kaif, who had four ''ducks'' in the last five innings, has the backing of the Coach Greg Chappel and skipper Rahul Dravid and would be looking forward to be among the runs.

Badly in need of a good score to cement his place in the team ahead of the World Cup, Kaif appeared confidence. He asked the bowlers in the nets to pitch short and negated them with elan with short arm pulls.

Venugopala Rao too seemed to be in good touch during the nearly one hour session in the nets.

UNI

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