Gambhir, Praveen stay off practice

Gambhir, Praveen stay off practice

Gambhir, Praveen stay off practice

Under a sweltering sun, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Manoj Tiwary appeared on a mission to outdo each other, pulling off spectacular catches and brilliant saves, eliciting tremendous appreciation from fielding coach Trevor Penney – himself outstanding in the park during his salad days.

The fielding session came on the heels of a short, snappy but meaningful stint at the nets, where Gautam Gambhir and Praveen Kumar were conspicuous by their absence. Praveen was resting in the hotel while Gambhir reached Chandigarh only in the afternoon from New Delhi.

Delhi hero R Vinay Kumar was entrusted with the responsibilities of addressing the media, and the Karnataka skipper handled questions with poise, choosing to play it safe when it came to the question of the missing duo. Asked if either of them had any injury concerns, he replied, “I don’t know,” the same answer emanating when questioned about grass on the pitch and potential changes to the eleven.

Vinay, however, was happy to talk about his own bowling, and his strategy of bowling short of Kevin Pietersen. “Normally, he likes to come down the track and guide from off to leg,” Vinay offered. “Whenever he charged out, I used to bowl short of a length just to put some doubt in his mind, and that really worked.”

Once again reiterating the advantage of two new balls, Vinay also had a word of praise for Umesh Yadav’s extra pace. “In the last two games, there was a bit of uneven bounce,” he remarked. “Because of his pace, he got a few wickets; the batsmen really got confused where to play because from back of a length, a few balls kept low. That extra pace is really helping the team. Me and PK up front bowl swing and when one-change comes in with extra pace, that combination is very good.”

Vinay’s four for 30, his best one-day figures, didn’t net him the man of the match award, which went to centurion Virat Kohli. “Virat played really well,” Vinay said when asked if he was disappointed at not being named the man of the match. “We had lost two wickets early, and his was an amazing knock. If the team wins, it is more than enough for me. I don’t need to be named the man of the match for me to be happy.”

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