India's Sachin Tendulkar gestures during a practice session at the Edgbaston cricket ground in Birmingham (AFP)
Leicester: The Indians run into a buoyed Leicestershire side that will like to shake off the hangover of their Sunday night 'Friends Life T20' triumph celebrations to give the visitors a real fight on Monday in a one-day practice game before MS Dhoni's men run into England in a series of limited-overs internationals.
The spirit in the Indian camp, though, is a mix of gloom and cheer as India were kept anxious by a 'blurry' Gautam Gambhir even after winning two practice games back to back – against Sussex and Kent.
Gambhir – recovering from the concussion he suffered during The Oval Test – still has a blurry vision and if reports are to be believed, the opener may be next in line to return home after Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and Ishant Sharma.
But the performance of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma has brought hearty cheer for a team still having nightmares after a 4-0 whitewash in the Test series. Kohli's 71 and 38 were instrumental in the victories over Sussex and Kent respectively, supported ably by Rohit Sharma who contributed with knocks of 61 and 30.
And with Parthiv Patel (55) too coming up with a solid half century against Sussex, MS Dhoni will be pressed hard to give new arrivals Ajinkya Rahane and Varun Aaron an outing against the Leics here on Monday.
Leicester beat Somerset to become England's domestic T20 champions as both the finalists also made it to the Champions League T20, which is slated to begin in India from September 23.
Leics have experienced international players in the form of Abdul Razaaq, Paul Nixon, Mathew Hoggard and Andrew McDonald, who can give India a run for their money.
However, India's focus will be to sort out their playing XI, and it won't be a surprise if Dhoni goes into the park with a first-choice team against Leicestershire.
MS Dhoni (c/wk), Varun Aaron, R Ashwin, Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir, Praveen Kumar, Amit Mishra, Munaf Patel, Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, RP Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, R Vinay Kumar