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TT, darts, Shafali's batting help players pass time on rainy day

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Southampton, June 18 (IANS) The Indian and New Zealand cricket teams passed their time on Friday playing darts, table-tennis and monodeal cards as rain washed out play on the first day of the World Test Championship final.

Additionally, the Indian contingent followed the Indian woman opener Shafali Verma’s exploits 100 miles away as she hit back-to-back half-centuries in the one-off Test against England in Bristol.

“We have not missed a bit of the girls right from Day One, except for the time when we were out in practice. All of us have seen the game. It has been going on live in our rooms, in our team room, in our breakfast area, and even when we were waiting for the rain to stop,” fielding coach R Sridhar told the media after the first day’s play was washed out.

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“All of us were sitting together and watching the girls’ game and encouraging our girls. They are fighting to get back into the game. Shafali reminds us so much of Viru [Virender Sehwag], the way she plays, her mind-set is so clear. We are enjoying the innings from Shafali. I wish she had got a hundred in the first innings,” he said.

Sridhar also revealed that the Indian team management is impressed by the spin-friendly pitch in Bristol. “Looking at the wicket, I think we could play [WTC] final there. The ball is turning a bit. We are just wondering if we can shift the final to Bristol,” he said in a lighter vein.

The 50-year-old Sridhar, a former Hyderabad first-class player, added that passing time is not an issue with the current bunch of Indian players who have lived enough in the bio-bubble and developed camaraderie.

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“We were at the breakfast, in our rooms, we were chatting, talking, some of them were playing monodeals, they were playing some darts, and a group of boys were playing table tennis,” he said.

“It is easy to pass time when such a group of cricketers get together. They are all like a family and we all have been very close because most of the time we have been in the bubble. Therefore, there is great camaraderie. So passing time is among the easiest things.”

New Zealand vice-captain Tom Latham said that the team knew since Thursday that rain would affect the first day and they were all trying to relax.

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“Looking at the conditions, we knew that a lot of water has fallen from yesterday afternoon. There was not a huge chance that we are going to play today, so the guys are trying to relax,” he told the media.

“There is lot of table tennis, lot of darts being played in the team. Guys have been pretty relaxed. It has been good. We will to get another shot tomorrow and wait and see what happens.”

–IANS

kh/qma

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