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Tendulkar practises with bats in both hands! 
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, December 8, 2005

Have you ever seen Sachin Tendulkar taking runs with bats in both hands? Sounds unusual, but the 'little master' was seen practising in this manner when the Indian team had their first net session at the Palam Air Force ground here on Thursday.

Tendulkar applied himself fully even though it was just a net session - watched by match referee and former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd from the pavilion.

The star batsman is in pursuit of his world-record 35th Test century in the second Test against Sri Lanka starting here on Saturday.

"He is an excellent cricketer, a tremendous cricketer," said Lloyd, who will be the International Cricket Council (ICC) referee for the Delhi Test.

Asked what fascinates him the most about Tendulkar, Lloyd said without a pause: "Oh, it's his concentration. He is also a nice person to talk to."

Ganguly-Chappell byplay

It was not all serious cricket at the net session Thursday ahead of the second Test in the city, there was some pleasing byplay too.

And it was more pleasing when it involved coach Greg Chappell and former captain Sourav Ganguly, who were at loggerheads just a few weeks ago over selection issues.

Sitting upright on his knees, Ganguly gave close catching practice to Chappell off balls thrown by physiotherapist Greg King and sports scientist Ian Frazer.

There were smiles all around as Chappell showed reflexes at the age of 57 against sharp catches offered by 33-year-old Ganguly.

He later went through the tough drill of rapid fielding practice in which a player has to pick up the ball hit alternately from two sides and aim at the two sets of stumps placed at a distance.

But the left-handed batsmen, who bowls and throws with his right hand, struggled with the balls hurled from an angle of 45 degrees. At the end of the tough one-minute long rapid-fire session, Ganguly was all huffing and puffing, but still managed a smile - more of relief than tiredness.

'Veerus' on and off field

While cricketer Veeru (Virender Sehwag) took a day off and did not turn up for the practice session on Thursday, the other Veeru - Bollwyood actor Dharmendra - celebrated his birthday as he turned 70.

No one at the ground seemed aware of Dharmendra's birthday, who got the nickname Veeru after he played the character of the same name in Bollywood blockbuster "Sholay" in the 1970s.

But the media wanted to know why Sehwag was not at the field.

India's media manager M. Baladitya said the hard-hitting batsmen from Delhi had sought, and given, permission to "take it easy" for a day.

"He is fit, there's nothing wrong. It is just that he wanted to take it easy today and he has spoken to Chappell and captain Rahul Dravid. He will be here tomorrow for practice," he said
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