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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Dhoni skips nets session as Team India players go through the grind

Dhoni skips nets session as Team India players go through the grind

February 23, 2016 22:11 IST

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Uncertain for Wednesday’s Asia Cup opener against Bangladesh, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni skipped the entire training session of the Indian cricket team in Fatullah on Tuesday, even though he accompanied the team to the ground.

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Nursing back spasms, Dhoni's availability for the match at Mirpur in the tournament opener is unclear with vice-captain Virat Kohli also refraining from giving a clear response.

While a lot of players don't train on pre-match days, Dhoni normally plays football and does batting practice in the nets. Although, he never does any ’keeping drills during training sessions, he does gather a few before taking the field on match days.

In a nutshell, captain can't be ruled out till the playing XI is announced before toss on Wednesday.

Dhoni suffered a muscle spasm in the back during a training session on Monday, which resulted in Parthiv Patel getting a call-up as cover for the Indian captain.

While he did not take part in the training session, Dhoni watched his teammates go through the paces at the Khan Saheb Osman Ali Stadium, in Fatullah on Tuesday.

A keen footballer, who would never miss a game, Dhoni stood behind the goalpost at the pavilion end, watching his teammates warm-up.

India's opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan bats in the nets during a training session on Tuesday

India's opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan bats in the nets during a training session on Tuesday. Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

Later, when the nets started, he watched the batsmen go through the paces. In between, he did give some catching practice to Ajinkya Rahane, who is unlikely to feature in the Playing XI now that Virat Kohli has made a comeback.

Dhoni's replacement Parthiv arrived by afternoon but was given rest. If the pint-sized wicket-keeper batsman from Gujarat gets to play, it will be without a proper net session with the team.

The bigger reason that Dhoni will be keen to get fit in time for the match is Parthiv can't bat in all key positions in the shortest format.

The other problem with Parthiv is his inability to hit big sixes during death overs. His best has come against the new ball. He takes advantage of the field restrictions in the first six overs at least sporadically in the Indian Premier League.

But given the settled top-order, Parthiv is unlikely to be included in the upper half of the line-up. In fact, he may be sent after the big-hitting Hardik Pandya.

Among other players, Ashish Nehra did his own routine before bowling a few deliveries at the nets. One such sharp bouncer surprised Pandya, who seemed rattled by the steep bounce generated by the 36-year-old Delhiite.

The other notable aspect during the training session was Ravindra Jadeja's big-hitting. Whether it was Harbhajan Singh or the net bowlers, Jadeja was regularly sending the deliveries soaring into the stands.

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