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Tendulkar: We need to fire collectively
- Laxman to use special pads in Sunday’s Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka

Colombo: V.V.S. Laxman is going to start nets on Friday, exactly a week after being hit in the left knee region by Zaheer Khan and missing two Asia Cup phase II games.

“I’m much better, but haven’t had a hit for days... Tomorrow, then, is a crucial day for me,” Laxman told The Telegraph on Thursday evening, after a fielding-specific Team India workout at the Moore Sports Club.

Laxman, by the way, will be using special pads at nets — the ones he intends wearing in Sunday’s final (versus Sri Lanka) of this IndianOil-sponsored tournament. Usually, his pads come from the UK, but this new pair has been rushed from India. Quite sensibly, there’s more protection.

Incidentally, Laxman was hit in the same area (by Ashish Nehra) on July 17, an injury which made him skip the phase I match against the hosts.

According to physio Andrew Leipus, it takes three-four weeks for complete recovery, but Laxman’s progress has been remarkable. “He’s not quite there as yet, but is going to be fit for the final... He got hit (twice) in a region where there isn’t much muscle... That’s why the bone took a beating, resulting in a painful bruise,” he said.

Zaheer Khan looked a bit stiff, but Leipus declared he too will be absolutely okay for one more face-off with Sri Lanka. The left-armer, of course, had an eventful game on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in seniormost pro Sachin Tendulkar’s opinion, Team India “must fire collectively” if the hosts are to be subdued in conditions they are most comfortable in.

“Beating Sri Lanka isn’t going to be easy... They’re used to conditions here and our job is cut out... We have been good thus far, but need to get better... In the build-up, we should draw inspiration from the many positives of the past two years... Clearly, they outweigh the negatives,” the present-day Little Master maintained.

Sachin, who has already taken 10 wickets, remarked he was “enjoying” turning his arm over.

Murali, Vaas at nets

Champion bowlers Muttiah Muralidharan and Chaminda Vaas, who missed Tuesday’s match versus India for different reasons, attended nets during the day. Vaas, though, hasn’t entirely recovered from flu.

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