As dark clouds hovered menacingly over the picturesque Trent Bridge ground, raising fears of another “moving” Test, India’s well-wishers were desperately looking for a silver lining on Wednesday.
With Zaheer Khan all but ruled out, and the first Test already down the drain, they will clearly hang on to anything. It was no surprise, therefore, that their mood visibly lifted when Sachin Tendulkar finally walked into the ground. Armed with three bats, two pairs of pads and the India cap firmly on his head, he seemed perfectly all right. He smiled at everybody and confirmed that he was indeed perfectly all right. “The medicine that I had taken to subdue the viral had weakened me,” he said. “Now I am fine.”
As if prove his point, he went straight into the team’s football match. He stayed on the sidelines for a bit but couldn’t control his child-like enthusiasm for long; pretty soon, he was shouting, passing and scoring goals like a pro. Victory in place, he was all set for the main thing.
Even as Abhinav Mukund and Suresh Raina took guard, he took fielding coach Trevor Penney aside for throwdowns. For the next hour, he just kept hitting the ball straight back or leaving it alone; he spoke to him at regular intervals, indicating that he wanted to fine-tune his forward defensive stroke. Clearly, something was rankling him. He may not have been in top health at Lord’s; but he is not going to blame that for failing to save the Test.