India have dismissed reports questioning the fitness of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravi Ashwin and said both are “very much available” for their second World Cup match against South Africa in Melbourne on Sunday.
Seamer Kumar was reported to be a doubt after a lacklustre training session in Melbourne on Wednesday, while other reports said offspinner Ashwin was struck by a Umesh Yadav delivery while batting in the same nets, reports Reuters.
‘We are receiving so many calls from media about R. Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar fitness,’ team media manager Dr. Baba said in an e-mail on Thursday.
‘(The) above players are very much available for selection for (the) match against South Africa.’
India opened their World Cup defence with a convincing 76-run victory over Pakistan in Adelaide last Sunday.
LEHMANN MOANS ABOUT WORLD CUP FORMAT
Australian coach Darren Lehmann wants the format of the World Cup to be ‘condensed’ because he feels the breaks between matches are too long, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Lehmann’s side are in the middle of a seven-day gap between their opening pool game against England, and their next match against Bangladesh in Brisbane on Saturday. The team’s third clash – against New Zealand in Auckland – is a further week later, with breaks of four days, four days and six days scheduled between their last four encounters during the preliminary stage.
The group phase of the event spans 30 days, although just 42 matches will be played across Australia in New Zealand in that period.
Lehmann, looking to become the fourth man to coach Australia to World Cup triumph argued that the gaps were excessive.
‘I think we can condense the tournament a little bit to be honest. A week in between is a long time,’ Lehmann told SEN on Wednesday morning.
‘I’m not sure how they do it with all the media rights and all that.’
Australia are not the only team with long break between games. South Africa’s first two games, against Zimbabwe and India respectively, are seven days apart, while there are a five-day gap between the India game and their showdown with the West Indies.
Lehmann acknowledged, however, that the spread-out schedule ensured teams would not need to rest players from games.
With captain Michael Clarke set to return against the Tigers, and all-rounder Mitch Marsh firing, Lehmann was asked whether Shane Watson was at risk of being squeezed from the Australian line-up. Lehmann said he wanted his entire squad fit and firing, which would in turn lead to selection dilemmas.
‘Mitchell Marsh doing really well, that puts pressure not just on Shane Watson but a lot of people.
‘With Michael coming back, if he’s fit he’s going to play so we’re going to have to make a tough decision.’