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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Buzz Up Players fresh after long break: Kirsten

Although India won the ODI series in the Caribbean 2-1, it was a bunch of exhausted players that coach Gary Kirsten was dealing with at the end of the season. But after all 16 players, who had toured the West Indies in June, underwent their fitness assessments in Delhi and Mumbai over the last two days, the South African said they were a refreshed lot after a month-and-a-half-long break.

And though he will also get to assess Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid over the next few days, Kirsten will have to wait before he gets a proper look at Virender Sehwag, who is out with a shoulder injury.

"Sehwag is undergoing rehabilitation at the moment. I think things are looking really good there," said Kirsten. He also said that Sehwag's fitness would be assessed in a few days time at the NCA. "We are very happy with his progress and hopefully have him ready soon."

While the former South African opener spent Monday at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium with the likes of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and RP Singh, in Mumbai the indoor academy at the Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai was his ground zero. The coach said he was satisfied with the present fitness levels of the eight players - Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, S Badrinath, Dinesh Karthik, Pragyan Ojha and Abhishek Nayar - who participated in the session.

"It's been two good days. The purpose of it was to meet with up the guys while they got some time off, so we made a decision way back in the West Indies to get together. That's one area we feel that we can work on as a team. We wanted to do a series of assessments and obviously this was the first one," said Kirsten.

Good response

"The guys responded really well. In fact, they are pretty much in good condition or in a condition that we would like them to be at this stage. Obviously there are improvements to be made and we understand that, but we are very happy with the way it went," he added.

Kirsten said though there were a few injuries that surfaced after the West Indies tour, most of the players had recovered. "There were a fair amount of niggles after we left the West Indies. Everybody has recovered pretty well. I spoke to Nitin today and apart from the ones that we know everyone is in a pretty good condition," he said.

Kirsten also informed that Tendulkar, who was expected to show up at the BKC on Tuesday, would be undergoing his fitness assessments soon. "We have brought the squad that was in the West Indies. Sachin was also to be part of that but he is unavailable today. We really could not get everyone available at such short time but he will be doing his tests in the next day or two," he said.

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