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Tendulkar continues to play mentor at nets

Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar turns tutor on Australia tour 

Not discounting the contribution of coach Duncan Fletcher, but it is Sachin Tendulkar who is apparently playing the role of both mentor and coach on India's tour of Australia thus far. After schooling Umesh Yadav about the length to bowl the other day, he spent time in fine tuning the skills of new throw down man DGVI Raghavindraa here at the Manuka Oval nets yesterday. He taught Raghavindraa how to generate some swing with his throw downs.


Valuable lessons: Sachin Tendulkar (right) helps DGVI Raghavindraa
fine tune his throw down skills at Manuka Oval yesterday.
Pic/Sai Mohan


Tendulkar, who hadn't removed his pads despite finishing a net that lasted an hour, demonstrated this art, with Raghavindraa at the other end, who observed how the ball changed its course in the last-minute. After repeatedly bowling to 'Raghu', who caught the ball on first bounce, a cheerful Tendulkar told him:  "Aaah... dekh, dekh ball ab swing ho raha hai."  (See, the ball is swinging now) Tendulkar then asked Raghavindraa to move over to the other nets to bowl at Virat Kohli.

It was Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid who had asked the Indian cricket board to recruit Raghavindraa for the tour of Australia. In fact, Tendulkar had asked Raghavindraa to fly to his Mumbai home two weeks prior to the date of departure, it is learnt.

The practice session started with Tendulkar facing Raghavindraa in the nets for close to an hour. Zaheer Khan, Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun bowled at the other nets, but not to Tendulkar. Only Pragyan Ojha bowled to Tendulkar. R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma were present for fielding drills, but did not bowl to any of the batsmen.

Do not disturb Sehwag!
VIRENDER Sehwag lost his cool when a bunch of vocal Indian fans kept egging him on with "Viru �.Viru" chants during India's net session on the eve of the second warm-up tie against CA Chairman's XI. This went on for a few minutes until Sehwag turned around and said in an irritable tone, "Jo bhi baat-cheeth karna hai � baadme karo".

The fans obliged almost immediately. Even Sachin Tendulkar was evidently perturbed but managed to maintain his composure. On Friday, he nearly snapped at a young Australian boy who tried to lend him a piece of advice on how to tackle the in-swinging ball. Clearly, Sehwag is in no mood to please before the Test series.

India's Ram & Shyam
Most people who followed India's in England in 2007 felt Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar were like "Ram and Shyam" on that tour. It appears as if Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir are following suit this time around, both on their first Test tour to Australia.

Ever since they arrived on these shores last Wednesday, the Delhi duo has been spotted together, everywhere. Yesterday, even after most of the players entered the team bus at the conclusion of the three-hour long practice session, Kohli and Gambhir were hanging around, sharing a joke or two. "Thank you. I am desperate to do well here," Kohli said when greeted with a 'good luck' message from someone near the nets.

Duleepsinhji's boots to fill!
SUJATHA Singh, the High Commissioner of India in Australia since October 2007, welcomed the Indian cricket team with a very warm speech here on Saturday. Later, she revealed that legendary Indian batsman Kumar Shri Duleepsinhji (who played Test cricket for England) was one of the earliest to occupy the coveted post held by her.

"Duleepsinhji was either the second or the third person to serve as the Indian High Commissioner here. He was very close to Australian Prime Minister at the time. Though I am not aware of too many anecdotes from the time, I know quite a few tales of General Cariappa who also served in the post," she said. Duleepsinhji joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1949 and became High Commissioner for India in Australia and New Zealand.

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