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India vs England 2014: MS Dhoni may rest from the tour game against Middlesex

MS Dhoni did not train on Thursday © Getty Images
MS Dhoni did not train on Thursday © Getty Images

By Chetan Narula

London: Aug 21, 2014

Holding their last practice session before being forced to go on a break by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), India‘s bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding consultant Trevor Penney made the players ‘sweat’ before the one-off practice game ahead of the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series starting August 25. Looking to pick up the pieces from the embarrassing 3-1 Test loss against England, the visitors now await the new coaching staff before their 50-over warm-up match against Middlesex tomorrow at the Lord’s.

In the mean time, Dawes and Penney took India through their paces in the net session with some slip-fielding practice and throw-downs taking place as the bowlers and batsmen did their respective drills.  Newly-appointed assistant coaches Sanjay Bangar, Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar will look to bring some change to India’s fortunes with Team Director Ravi Shastri clarifying that the new team will not try to clip under-fire coach Duncan Fletcher’s wings.

Though only three players from the Test contingent, Ajinkya Rahane, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Stuart Binny, made it to the practice session at the Lord’s nursery grounds, the young brigade went about the drills diligently. Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammad Shami, took the day off after attending the nets yesterday.

Looking to get into their limited-overs groove before the Bristol ODI on Monday, the Indian players are not only looking for a change in fortune but are keen to prove their detractors wrong, at least in white-ball cricket. Though the team has still not talked about the one-day combination it has in mind, but Sanju Samson was seen practicing his wicket-keeping skills along with an intended slip-cordon of Binny, Rahane and Suresh Raina.

The net sessions and the way they were carried out seemed to give an impression that Dhoni may miss the Middlesex game and rather choose to sit with the think-tank to try and chalk out a winning strategy for the one-dayers and the one-off Twenty20. The methods of Fletcher have also come under intense scrutiny and the Zimbabwean is not known to treat practice games with intensity.

Many felt that India took the two warm-up games — against Leicestershire and Derbyshire — before the Tests too lightly and their lackadaisical approach did not help the team at all.

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