Team India returned to training under rain and indoor nets at Manchester on Wednesday, the highlight being the recuperating Bhuvneshwar Kumar coming back to practice at nets.
The drill was supposed to be a full-team event but was turned into optional nets due to the constant drizzle soaking up the outfield at Manchester. The team had returned to training after a two-day well-earned break and winning a tense group stage match against Afghanistan at Hampshire Bowl in Southampton.
Kumar had suffered a hamstring stiffness mid-field in the match against Pakistan at Manchester and had to leave the field four balls into his over with Vijay Shankar completing the task, to earn a first-ball wicket in his World Cup debut.
Bhuvneshwar, who had been restricted to slow walking the field and light exercise drills by team physio Patrick Farhartin the run-up to the match against Afghanistan, bowled at the nets for around half-an-hour as Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja and Vijay Shankar took throw downs in parallel nets. He kept his run-up mostly small, increasing it only once in a while that too not to full stride and under the watchful eyes of Farhart.
India is scheduled to play its sixth match of the tournament against West Indies but Mohammed Shami who had replaced the injured Kumar for the Afghanistan match has since cemented his prospects in the playing 11 with a last-over hattrick which turned the tide of the game and overall four wickets.
It now remains to be seen whether Kumar would be back for the West Indies game though it looks unlikely for now with Shami in full flow and the skipper Virat Kohli suggesting after the match against Pakistan that Kumar would take at least two maybe three matches to recover completely from his injury.
India's next match after the one at Manchester is against England in Edgbaston, Birmingham, and a more serious look at Kumar's return wouldbe taken only then by the team management.
Meanwhile, a full-drill nets had to be bifurcated into an optional indoor session due to rain with Kohli, Jadeja, Shankar and Kumar turning up for the session. Kohli, who batted for close to 45 minutes to throw-downs by the support staff and the balling machine as coach Ravi Shastri looked over. Kohli's full-throated shots came in as a decibel warning for the West Indies who play India tomorrow despite being all but out of contention for the semi-final.
Shankar, practised at length some outside off-stump deliveries from the machine, missing many of them even as Jadeja who has so far not got a game except as a substitute for first Shikhar Dhawan and then Kumar, swung his bat with elanwith some square cuts and uppish straight drives over the head of the bowler.