Mood in Indian camp upbeat as Dhoni & Co. undergo season’s first practice session ahead of Sri Lanka tour

With grey clouds taking charge of the skies – as they have unfailingly done over the past week here – the threat of rain formed the backdrop for the Indian cricket team’s training camp on Monday ahead of the Sri Lankan tour. Fortunately for the Indians, who will be playing Sri Lanka in five ODIs and one T20, the season’s first practice session remained unhindered by weather, says a report in The Hindu, adding that a new season also meant new training apparel: the cricketers were seen sporting a black jersey with a dash of luminous green.

“Suresh Raina, boyish grin intact, was the first player to step out for practice soon after coach Duncan Fletcher and bowling coach Joe Dawes made their way to the ground. Raina’s colleagues, including skipper M.S. Dhoni, vice-captain Virat Kohli, Virender Sehwag, and Zaheer Khan, joined him not long after for the running and stretching routine. A spot of football was next on the agenda. Going by the players’ excited shrieks, it appeared like an exercise offering fun and competition in equal measure. Serious business commenced with batsmen, in pairs, alternating between the fast-bowlers’ and spinners’ nets,” says the Hindu report.

Meanwhile a report in Hindustan Times says that the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian cricket team had a strenuous four-hour training session, which included physical as well as nets, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Monday ahead of their Sri Lanka tour from July 21. Dhoni reached the city last Friday and the other members of the team are coming in batches.

The camp started in right earnest under the watchful eyes of coach Duncan Fletcher, bowling coach Joe Dawes and fielding coach Trevor Penny. After a stretching and physical conditioning session, the players assembled for the usual football match that lasted for about a 20 minutes. Dhoni led one side while Gambhir captained the other, and had fielding sessions in turns.

Another report in in Hindustan Times says that the mood appeared upbeat what with all the top players available for selection. "When everyone is available, you can put your best team on the park. And when you have everyone available, you can start the season on a good note and carry that (momentum) forward," opening batsman Gautam Gambhir said on Monday.

“It is very important because you don't want to start a season on a bad note. You want to start on a positive note and hopefully we can do it in Sri Lanka. But as I have said, you can't take Sri Lanka lightly, they are a formidable side.”

Meanwhile, leg-break bowler Rahul Sharma survived an injury scare during training. A shot from Virat Kohli struck Rahul on the forehead, halting practice for a while. Fortunately, the injury wasn't serious and Rahul joined his teammates after a short break, despite swelling on the forehead. Media manager Ravi Jain confirmed that Rahul was “alright”.