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Harbhajan's injury not serious

February 08, 2006 22:46 IST

The Indian team management on Wednesday held out hope for Harbhajan Singh to recover in time for the second one-dayer on Saturday, saying his finger injury was not serious.

Although Mumbai off-spinner Ramesh Powar has been already drafted in as a cover for Harbhajan, coach Greg Chappell was confident that his first-choice spinner would be able to take the field against Pakistan in Rawalpindi.

"We have asked Pawar as a cover for Harbhajan but his injury is not serious," Chappell said.

"We are hoping that Harbhajan will be fit for the next match," said the former Australian captain.

The Indians are desperate for the Punjab bowler to regain his fitness after Murali Kartik was carted all over the park by the rampaging Pakistani batsmen in the first one-dayer at Peshawar which India lost by seven runs on the basis of Duckworth/Lewis method.

Shoaib Malik hit the hapless left-arm spinner for three huge sixes to leave the Railways bowler completely demoralised.

The Indian bowling attack has struggled to rein in Pakistan's batting line-up even after the team management's decision to go in with five specialist bowlers.

Meanwhile, the Indians took it easy for the day, a holiday here on account of Muharram, after having traveled from Peshawar by road yesterday and reaching here in the evening in time to attend the High Tea hosted by Indian High Commissioner Shivshanker Menon at his residence.

Team Media Manager G S Walia said the team was given an off day as the members had traveled yesterday and were tired.

Captain Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Chappell went to a nearby golf course to have a swing with the golf club.

Some of the team members later attended a lunch hosted by former Pakistan captain Imran Khan at his residence.

A few members of the Pakistan team, including captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, had an optional net practice at the Pindi Stadium, venue of the second one-dayer.

The main objective of the home team's practice session was to ask the three pacers -- Mohammed Asif, Rana Naved-ul Hasan and Umar Gul -- and all-rounder Yasir Arafat to bowl at two stumps on the wicket adjacent to the match pitch which lay under the covers.

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer was standing near the bowling crease and asking the four men to keep attacking the off stump with leg cutters.

The batsmen had an informal session at the other end of the ground without nets.

S S Ramaswamy
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