In what came as a pleasant surprise, the Indian and Pakistani players walked in together to train at the ICC Academy on the eve of their high-voltage clash in the ICC T20 World Cup.
It might be billed as the mother of all battles, but the mood among the players revealed a sense of calmness as both teams trained under lights on Saturday. The Indian boys started with a game of football as Virat Kohli, Mohammad Shami and Rishabh Pant seemed to have fun warming up.
Jasprit Bumrah and MS Dhoni though didn't waste any time in reaching the training nets. While Bumrah and Dhoni chatted with Bharat Arun, R Ashwin was seen training in the adjacent net. Bumrah soon changed nets and headed in to join Ashwin. The overall atmosphere clearly showed a sense of calmness that Dhoni has brought into the squad despite the upcoming game being billed as the game of the tournament.
Speaking to ANI, a source in the know of developments in the team management had said Dhoni's addition as a mentor for the T20 World Cup has been a huge positive with the former skipper's room being the go-to place for everyone, be it for serious talks or banter to help relax the mind before the first game of the tournament.
"We start with the game against Pakistan and Dhoni's presence has seen the whole dressing room wear a calm look. His room is obviously the bonding zone for the players and you can always expect him to come up with the answers to the queries of the youngsters and it hasn't been any different this time going into the T20 World Cup.
"This team has some of the most talented players in the country, but the big-match experience is something that can only come with time and there isn't much of that in this team apart from the likes of Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Mohammad Shami and a couple of others. The youngsters need that big brother figure in the team to give them a calming influence when they walk out to the middle," the source explained.
The Indian players have been training smart for the opening game against Pakistan and even won both their warm-up games -- against England and Australia. Having played the IPL in the UAE, the Indian players know the conditions well and will definitely hold an edge come Sunday. (ANI)