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Zaheer Khan skips nets

Calcutta: The Pakistanis may have been struggling with their form and fitness on this tour, but Team India are not taking anything for granted. While there has been considerable debate over whether this is the weakest Pakistan side to have toured India, Anil Kumble and his men are determined not to let that make them lose focus.

If the body language of the players during practice on Wednesday is anything to go by, the Indians are looking to wrap up the series at the Eden.

They are also unlikely to change the winning Kotla combination. Despite a poor outing at the Kotla, Dinesh Karthik is expected to retain his place in the side.

Zaheer Khan, who has been feeling a bit under the weather, skipped nets. “Zaheer felt uneasy... So he did not practice, but there is nothing wrong with him,” cricket manager Lalchand Rajput said.

Sachin Tendulkar also didn’t bat at nets and restricted himself to some knocking. “Nothing should be read into it… He is a seasoned pro and often prefers not to bat at nets before Tests. He did the same thing before the first Test,” Rajput said.

Ranadeb Bose and Shib Shankar Paul assisted the Indians at nets. ICC Women’s Cricketer of the Year Jhulan Goswami also made an appearance and had a chat with Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Dhoni, who hurt his ankle during the Jaipur one-dayer, was out to put to rest any worries over his fitness. Closely monitored by physio John Gloster and trainer Gregory King Dhoni took catches, often stretching and lunging from one side to the other. He also played football with teammates during the warm-up session.

There was a minor scare when Murali Kartik suffered a painful blow during a collision with bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad. It left him with a rather sore and cut lower lip.

Rudra Pratap Singh and Sreesanth’s fitness tests, meanwhile, will be held on Thursday or Friday.

Gloster has been advised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to provide an update on their fitness ahead of the team selection for the tour Down Under.

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