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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

Morning nets to decide Nehra's fate

Faisal Shariff in Durban | February 25, 2003 13:37 IST

The Indian team's nets, at the Newlands ground here at 9.30 am local time, is crucial for the team in more ways than one.

At a meeting last evening, the team think-tank agreed on a 3+1 formula with a seam bias for the bowling, against England and possibly also against Pakistan.

To pull it off, they need Ashish Nehra -- who, in the side's previous game against Namibia fell during his delivery stride and sprained his right ankle after bowling just one delivery -- fit and playing. The Delhi seamer, who in this World Cup surprised many by bowling at 147k+ and, almost out of the blue, taking on the mantle of the fastest bowler in the side, has been walking around with no evidence of discomfort.

However, his performance in the nets is being seen as the key -- Nehra will bowl, with team physiotherapist Andrew Leipus and coach John Wright monitoring him closely, and it has been left to Leipus to decide whether Nehra is fit to take the field in tomorrow's key day-night game against England.

The decision will be made after the three-hour intensive nets this morning. In the event Nehra is unfit, the choice will be between Ajit Agarkar and Sanjay Bangar, with Agarkar having the inside track. The think-tank, however, has not at this point entirely ruled out the possibility of altering its game plan and replacing Nehra with Anil Kumble in the event the latter is not fully match-fit.

Elsewhere, however, there was good news in the fact that Sachin Tendulkar has fully recovered from his hand injury. The batting star had split the webbing on his left hand, and played the game against Namibia with a cotton padding and extra bandage to cushion the area.

The measure, team officials told rediff.com, was largely precautionary and aimed at ensuring that the injury did not worsen. With two days of rest, the injury is healed and Tendulkar, being seen as the key to the Indian batting after top-scoring in all the matches thus far, is fully fit again.

The nets this morning will incorporate, besides extended bowling sessions for the seamers, much intensive practise for the frontline batsmen against seam bowling. No change is at this point contemplated in lineup or the batting order, with Tendulkar and Sehwag slated to open, and Ganguly in all probability batting at three.

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Number of User Comments: 58

Sub: Unfair ....!

I feel really sorry for Kumble. He was key in Holland's defeat;he took the only wicket against Australia. And one would wonder what exactly needed ...

Posted by Raghu

Sub: Replacement for Nehra

I feel Agarkar qould be a better option instead of Bangar coz he swings the white ball pretty well and thats where he can be ...

Posted by jeetu

Sub: Nehra's Injury

Agarkar should replace Nehra, only if required. With seven specialist batsmen India requires a specialist bowler more than an allrounder.

Posted by Abhishek

Sub: Agarkar will be right choice

In case of Nehra being unfit...Agarkar will be the right choice..though ..dada,ganguly is wise enough to judge the situation...lets hope for the best...

Posted by Subodh

Sub: Nehra

I think Agarkar should play because Durban wicket will certailnly help fast/swing bowlers.

Posted by Hemant


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