Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Watson doubtful for tour match

Board President's XI v Australians, Hyderabad

The mood in the two camps couldn't have presented a starker contrast. The Australians were looking to absorb as much as possible from a net session in preparation for the Test series. The India hopefuls in the Board President's XI, on the other hand, endured a nail-biting wait for news of the Test squad that ended in disappointment for everyone except S Badrinath.

Yuvraj Singh, the captain, tried to say the right things in the pre-match press conference in Hyderabad. No such ambiguity for the Australian machine, which rolled on in Hyderabad with another intense session to keep the momentum going from Jaipur. Their coach Tim Nielsen considered it perfect fine-tuning for the series ahead.

Australia do have a couple of worries, though. Bryce McGain, their frontline spinner, has already been ruled out of the first Test with a shoulder injury and might be on the flight back home soon. Allrounder Shane Watson has been laid up for the past 24 hours with viral fever. 

Mitchell Johnson is under the most pressure. He had a poor series in the Caribbean that accentuated an inability to bring the ball back into the right-hander. His competition is Doug Bollinger, the left-arm swing bowler, and Peter Siddle, the right-arm medium-pacer. Bollinger is currently the frontrunner and appeared bullish on his chances.

The circumstances have made the game a mouth-watering prospect. The Australians are gathering steam ahead of Bangalore while several in the Board President's line-up, like Yuvraj Singh, have a point to prove to themselves, and to the selectors.

- CricVille -

Sandesh Kumar Jaggi

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