| Virender Sehwag sweats it out in Pietermaritzburg on Friday. India take on Namibia on Sunday. (Reuters)
Pietermaritzburg: With much of the focus being on the last two pool matches, versus England and Pakistan, the Indian thinktank is considering “resting” two bowlers during Sunday’s game against Namibia.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, Anil Kumble and Ajit Agarkar are expected to be in the XI. While Kumble will take Harbhajan Singh’s place, it’s not clear who will be rested to allow Agarkar his first match in the 2003 World Cup.
Agarkar, it may be recalled, was tipped to play the opener (versus Holland) but was replaced at almost the last minute by Kumble. The latter, of course, played the next game too — against Australia — before being dropped in Harare. Kumble’s berth went to Ashish Nehra.
As of late Friday, however, there was no talk of effecting a change in the batting. Moreover, Rahul Dravid will continue to keep wickets.
With the sun out in full glory, the Indians had an extended workout in the morning, where captain Sourav Ganguly (who has been short on runs) decided to do a Kandy: He practised with wet tennis balls. That had proved beneficial in Kandy, 18 months ago. Perhaps, the effect will be much the same on Jonty Rhodes’ home turf.
Meanwhile, after the day’s workout, senior pro Jawagal Srinath tore into the former cricketers who are contracted to TV networks and have made it a ‘habit’ to slam the present team.
“Their attitude has been very disappointing. In fact, the unhappy incidents after our defeat in the match versus Australia can be attributed to their comments,” he boomed, while interacting with the media.
Directly holding the one-time cricketers responsible for inciting fans back home, Srinath hoped they would realise that their own sons, if they took to cricket, could end up facing the same pressures.
Well, if it was left to Sachin Tendulkar (in Harare) to placate the millions at home, it fell on Srinath to take on the former cricketers. He did an excellent job.
Talking on other issues, Srinath felt both Zaheer Khan and Nehra could be “lethal” but the latter, especially, had to be careful about fitness. Looking ahead, Srinath said emotions would have be controlled in the game against Pakistan and that the March 1 match would be a “test for nerves.”
Attributing his fine form to “better control,” Srinath didn’t reveal his mind on plans after the World Cup. A final retirement, though, is on the cards.