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Light Training for Team India Before Semifinal

BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent

Mohali: The Pakistan team on Tuesday opted to take rest while the Indians had a light net session to prepare for Wednesday’s high-octane cricket World Cup semi-final clash.

The Pakistanis, who have been training regularly since coming here after beating the West Indies in the quarterfinal, chose to spend the day in their hotel and get the much-needed rest ahead of the big match which will be watched by the Prime Ministers of both the countries.

India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, centre, relaxes with his team during a training session in Mohali, India, Sunday, March 27, 2011. Pakistan will play India in a Cricket World Cup 2011 semifinal in Mohali on March 30. (AP photo)

Only captain Shahid Afridi turned up at the PCA stadium for the mandatory pre-match press conference and also briefly posed for the photographers with rival captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

The two captains greeted each other and then posed for the cameras but there were no pleasantries exchanged, in some way indicating the tense mood in both the camps on the eve of the blockbuster match.

Dhoni was the first to address the press conference and understandably much of the questions related to pressure, hype, frenzy and cricket diplomacy.

Afridi’s one-liners and brief answers provided some light-hearted moments at the press conference he emphasised his team’s desire to bring the World Cup to Pakistan and restore the image of cricket there.

After the press conference, Dhoni joined his teammates at the practice session which started with a game of football.

The players then went for a light batting session at the net.

The nearly two-and-half-hour session ended with some fielding practice with emphasis on ground fielding and catching.

Immediately after the team left the stadium, the groundsmen got down to work as they covered the pitch so that it did not crack because of the bright sunshine.

The stadium would be locked down for a thorough security check at 4 pm and the journalists were asked to complete their work at the media centre before that.

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