| Srinath: Fitness satisfies thinktank
Mumbai: The Indian XI (as of late Monday) for the first Test against the West Indies, beginning Wednesday, will be on expected lines. Essentially, then, four specialist bowlers will be fielded with Sanjay Bangar doubling-up as the fifth.
[The three-Test series is being sponsored by Exide Industries and the winner will keep the Exide Cup.]
Though there were some reservations over Jawagal Srinath’s ability to last five days, especially as he hasn’t played a five-dayer for almost five months, the thinktank seemed satisfied with his workout at the Wankhede during the afternoon.
Speaking exclusively, Srinath himself said: “I’m just putting my thoughts together...I’m thinking of the next few days only.” The veteran speedster, it may be recalled, ‘quit’ Test cricket after the series in the West Indies.
Given that Srinath is in the clear, Ashish Nehra — who passed his own fitness test — Shiv Sundar Das and rookie Amit Mishra will sit out.
Incidentally, West Indies captain Carl Hooper is “perfectly fine” and the MRI scan on his knees had nothing to do with any injury during the day’s workout. Somebody somewhere got it very wrong and, for a good many hours, there were whispers he may not play.
Manager Ricky Skerritt, however, categorically confirmed “nothing was wrong”. He added: “Carl has been having some pain in his knees and, so, underwent an MRI. The exercise was purely precautionary and he is perfectly fine.”
The up-coming Test will, of course, be very special for Hooper: It will be his 100th and, as it turns out, at the very ground where he earned his maiden cap, back in 1986-87.
Speaking to The Telegraph, early Monday, Hooper admitted he was “very excited” and that he would “preserve” all personal wear specific to the Test here. “It’s a pity I haven’t got anything of that first Test... I’m not going to make the same mistake.”
Hooper, by the way, has been joined by his family.
Asked whether he was indebted to anybody in particular, Hooper smiled and answered: “To the Good Lord...” The visiting team’s captain is among the most religious of cricketers anywhere.