| Sachin Tendulkar having fun with the younger probables at the conditioning camp in Bangalore on Tuesday. (PTI)
Bangalore: Sourav Ganguly said on Tuesday one or two slots in the Indian team are up for grabs and performance in the upcoming matches will be viewed seriously.
Asked about the combination of the team for the series against New Zealand, the India captain said: “More or less the same we had in the past year... Obviously, there are places for one or two.
“We will have to see how they (the contenders) perform in the Challenger series, Irani Trophy and the two warm up games against New Zealand,” he said.
“Whoever performs, people trying to make a come back or those trying to play for the national side for the first time, will stand a good chance.”
The 13-day fitness-specific conditioning camp for the 36 probables concluded on Tuesday. Sourav said the fitness level has gone up enormously.
“In terms of fitness tests and results shown, as a captain, it is great to see the side getting fitter. It (fitness level) has gone up by leaps and bounds.”
Sourav said the players knew what was required and worked accordingly. He felt fitness and cricket are different aspects, which help each other. “Fitness will definitely improve the standard of the game.”
The captain wasn’t too bothered about the injuries to Virender Sehwag, Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh — the three left out of the Challenger series teams.
“Injury is part and parcel of the game. The amount of cricket we play, it’s bound to happen.
“It is good that they are injured in off-season. On the positive side, the injured guys are as fit as any body in the team. So, once they recover, it won’t take much time for them to get back to the cricket field,” said Sourav.
Coach John Wright was pleased with the attitude of the 36 players attending the camp.
“I am very, very happy with the attitude and commitment shown by everyone,” Wright, flanked by physio Andrew Leipus and physical trainer Gregory Allen King, said.
“Some are fit and some needed to be fitter. Every player has improved during the camp, which has been very good.”
The coach said he is not worried about Rahul Dravid, Mohammed Kaif and Yuvraj Singh, who did not attend the camp.
King said the players have worked hard. “The camp has helped me start building a relationship with them. I spoke to them individually, which is important,” he said.
Asked to compare the fitness of the Indian side with that of South Africa and Australia, he said it was not necessary. “At the end of the day, it is the results on the field which are important,” King said.
Leipus said that Nehra and Harbhajan should be able to play the Irani Trophy tie in Chennai from September 18. “I did not want to commit Nehra to a team and pull him out at the last minute.”
Wright issued a clarification on Harbhajan, saying the off-spinner had been rested.
“Harbhajan is not injured… No problem with him. It is just that we felt the best way to introduce Harbhajan to the new season is by playing him in the longer version of the game. He will play in Irani Trophy,” he said.