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Recuperating Dhoni likely to join team in Adelaide

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 02, 2014 15:56 IST
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Meanwhile, Australia skipper Michael Clarke, who was entangled in a war of words with Cricket Australia over his availability for the first Test, is still a doubtful starter for the series opener due to an injury

India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Photograph: Philip Brown/Reuters

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is expected to join the team ahead of the rescheduled first Test, commencing in Adelaide on December 9.

Following a hand injury he was not named in the original squad for the first Test, earlier scheduled to be played in Brisbane from December 4, and expected to join the team for the second Test in Adelaide, which was originally slated to begin on December 12.

The tragic demise of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes resulted in rescheduling of the four-match Test series. Now India's captain will be able to join the team sometime this week, before the Test series begins.

The Indian team will play its second practice match at the Glenelg Oval, in suburban Adelaide, ahead of the first Test.

It will be a two-day game, beginning December 4. The opposition for that match is another Cricket Australia XI, though it will expectantly be devoid of any big names since the players are in mourning.

India's second tour-game was cancelled after Hughes's death.

Dhoni, however, will be unavailable for the practice game, as he is unlikely to join the squad before December 4.

Virat Kohli of India leaves a bat and cap at a memorial for Phil Hughes outside the Adelaide Oval

Virat Kohli of India leaves a bat and cap at a memorial for Phil Hughes outside the Adelaide Oval. Photograph: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

The Indian cricket team's spokesperson, Dr. Redhills Baba, said the skipper will join the team well ahead of the first Test, which means stand-in captain Virat Kohli will not lead the side when the series gets underway at the Adelaide Oval.

Meanwhile, Kohli will attend Hughes's funeral, on Wednesday, in the late cricketer's home-town, Macksville. He will be joined by batsmen Rohit Sharma and Murali Vijay, and team director Ravi Shastri, coach Duncan Fletcher and team manager Arshad Ayub.

The team management expects Kohli, Sharma and Vijay to return in time for the two-day tour game, which is scheduled for Thursday.

The entire Australian cricketing fraternity will attend the funeral, which will begin in the afternoon and be televised by major channels across Australia.

The Australian Test squad is then expected to travel to Adelaide on Thursday and begin preparations for the Test series.

Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke wipes his eyes as he breaks down during a press conference

Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke wipes his eyes as he breaks down during a press conference. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

However, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland has stated that "any grieving player is free to pull out of the match or indeed the Test series".

There will also be question marks about Australian skipper Michael Clarke's participation in the first Test. He had earlier been included in the original squad for the Brisbane Test pending a fitness test, but a small controversy erupted that saw him at loggerheads with the national selectors over the issue.

National selector Mark Waugh revealed that Hughes would have been in contention for a Test return if Clarke had been sidelined due to lack of fitness.

Hughes's death put that issue on the back-burner and Clarke has been a great leader off the pitch for Cricket Australia in this time of tragedy.

However, it has also not given him any time for rehabilitation and, thus, his participation in the opening Test is still a big question mark.

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