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Yuvraj Singh out of first ODI

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 11, 2006 16:14 IST
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India suffered a big blow ahead of the cricket tri-series with key ODI player Yuvraj Singh being ruled out of the first match against the West Indies on Thursday.

Yuvraj is down with fever but the team management is optimistic that the aggressive middle-order batsman would be fit in time for the remaining matches of the series. The tri-series kicks off on Tuesday with a match between West Indies and Australia.

"Yuvraj is sick. He may play later in the series," said a team official.

The Indians, who could not play a single match on the recent tour of Sri Lanka due to rains, were also worried on the count of the weather. Sudden downpours in the afternoons are quite common at this time of the year in this tropical country and could affect the day-night matches.

The series would provide Rahul Dravid's men some serious competition ahead of the Chapions Trophy which India host in October-November and they are keen to test their opponents in advance.

Coach Greg Chappell admitted as much, saying his team would treat the tournament as a "warm-up" for the Champions Trophy.

"We will treat this tournament as a practice for us ahead of the Champions Trophy," Chappell said after the team's net session this morning at the Selangor Club ground.

Chappell said although the team could not play any matches in Sri Lanka, it had kept itself occupied with a rolling camp and practice matches within themselves prior to departing for Malaysia.

"The players have such a hectic schedule that we don't get such time off from the field often. So we utilised the break (in Colombo) to focus on other aspects of the game," Chappell said.

The former Australian captain also said weather would not pose any problem for his team which is used to playing in hot conditions.

"Weather is not a worry for us. We are used to hot conditions," he said.

The weather also did not seem to dampen the enthusiasm among the locals, hundreds of whom braved the scorching sun to catch a glimpse of the Indian stars at this off-shore venue.

The female fans were spotted drooling over Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India's new batting sensation. Shouts of "Dhoni! Dhoni" pierced an otherwise quiet atmosphere at the club ground.

But it was Sachin Tendulkar who was the most sought-after player, his blue India jersey standing out in the midst of his teammates who were all clad in white, the official dress with sponsors' logo.

After finishing their practice, the Indian stars had a busy time signing autographs for the fans.

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