Port Of Spain (Trinidad), Jun 2: A depleted Indian cricket team, sans senior players Sachin Tendulkar and regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, arrived here for a limited overs series against the West Indies, starting Saturday.
Smartly dressed in a tee and trousers, the Indian players landed at around 20.30 Hrs (local time) yesterday at the Piarco International Airport here and were received by officials of Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) and sponsors Digicel.
The Suresh Raina-led Indian side looked tired and exhausted after their long flight from Mumbai via London and Barbados.
Stand-in skipper Raina's eyes were blood-shot for lack of sleep and a few team members looked dishevelled from the exertions of a long, trans-Atlantic flight.
Even though he looked tired and sleepless, Raina exuded confidence that his young team will do whatever it takes to win the lone Twenty game and the five-match ODI series against the Caribbeans.
"It's a young side. The players want to do well for the country and themselves. They are extremely motivated," said Raina after arriving here last evening.
Vice-captain Harbhajan Singh too opined that the starless Indian team would not be short of motivation in the upcoming series, irrespective of their relentless cricket schedule.
"These are young boys who are looking to build a career for itself. I don't think tiredness or fatigue would be a factor," said the off-spinner.
Rain in the last few days hampered the West Indies in their practice session at the Queen's Park Oval, the venue of the first three limited overs matches against India starting Saturday, and they had to sweat it out at the indoor facilities.
As West Indies players trooped in Queen's Park Oval for an intense training session, they were disappointed to learn that rains of last few days had rendered the practice pitches unfit to use.
The squad was left with no option but to train at Bryan Davis Indoor Nets but batting coach, yesteryear's great Desmond Haynes, wasn't ready to come to terms with the situation at the venue which will host a Twenty20 International and the first two ODIs of the series. Haynes sought out 22-year-old Darren Bravo, who is seen as next Brian Lara in this part of the world but had not done well against off-spinners in his young career, for a batting tutorial on the least-damaged pitch with a little mat rolled over the surface.
Haynes threw down his off-spinners for considerable length to the youngster as he made him drive, cut, sweep and more importantly use his feet against the tossed up deliveries.
As Bravo honed up his skills, there was a sensational mirror-image of Lara presented to the bystanders. The same languid gait, the same nipping of left glove to the groin as he awaited the delivery, the same uncoiling of electric body movement as he struck it.
The fielding session of the West Indian team was eye-catching and certainly designed for a sharp output within the inside ring. PTI