Zaheer skips, Harbhajan fools around in practice

Zaheer Khan could not be spotted and Yuvraj Singh didn't bat in the Indian team's practice session ahead of their second Test against Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

updated: November 22, 2009 15:20 IST
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Zaheer Khan could not be spotted, Yuvraj Singh didn't bat and Harbhajan Singh fooled around as an air of casual leisure breezed through the Indian cricket team's practice session ahead of their second Test against Sri Lanka here on Tuesday.

An indomitable spirit, Harbhajan got hold of an airlines luggage tag which he first stuck to mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton's back with the unsuspecting South African completely unaware of his 'tail'.

Harbhajan also gestured to the lensmen around to take Upton's snap with the tail, something that made the otherwise serious Sachin Tendulkar burst into laughter.

Removing it from Upton, the prankster in Harbhajan found his next victim in VVS Laxman, who was lying on the turf, and the off-spinner, on the pretext of massaging the stylish Hyderabadi, attached it to his back. Laxman had no idea about the prank and he too became a source of laughter for his teammates.

Harbhajan was equally funny while batting, clobbering and missing every now and then with his wild swishes. Meanwhile, comeback man Zaheer, who looked impressive in the first Test in Ahmedabad, was conspicuous by his absence in the nets today even though his new ball colleague Ishant Sharma sweated it out.

S Sreesanth, having played his last at the same venue against South Africa last year, also bent his back in the nets to trouble the likes of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.

Yuvraj Singh, meanwhile, was content bowling what the then England captain Kevin Pietersen had ridiculed as "left-arm filth" and then getting some catching practice with tennis ball.

As expected, intensity was high among players like Sreesanth and Pragyan Ojha, who sniff outside chances of making it to the final XI.

Ojha bowled to Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Laxman and looked impressive.

Among the spinners, Amit Mishra has looked ordinary in Ahmedabad and in the nets too, he was at the receiving end of Sehwag's free-flowing strokeplay.

On the expected lines, S Badrinath and Murali Vijay, fringe players with no real prospect of playing the match, just went through the motions.

Unlike Vijay, Badrinath, however, knocked a few balls towards the fag end when most of his teammates had deserted the place. Vijay kept his activities confined to stretching only.

In stark contrast, Tendulkar had a prolonged session elsewhere with coach Gary Kirsten who kept throwing at the veteran batsman. Once Tendulkar was through, Sehwag and Laxman also faced Kirsten to fine-tune their game.