Ian Bishop turned up in shorts and a rugby T-shirt and rolled his arm over at the Pakistan nets at the Eden Gardens. The rate at which Pakistan's players are dropping, through injury, illness or both, they might just find it hard to put out a strong eleven when the second Test begins in Kolkata on Friday.
Late on Wednesday evening, all that was known was that Shoaib Malik had a Grade 1 problem with his right ankle. "This type of injury takes a bit of time to heal," Talat Ali, Pakistan's manager, said towards the end of Pakistan's practice session. If this left Malik, who still had his left ankle in strapping, a doubtful starter, the serious concern was over the other Shoaib.
Shoaib Akhtar was confined to his room at the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital and there was no chance of his coming to the ground. However, the Pakistan team management was guardedly optimistic that his condition - a chest infection and the flu - would improve significantly by Thursday.
"We are hopeful he will be well enough to make it to practice tomorrow," said Ali. "The doctors will take another look at him later today [Wednesday] and he may be discharged."
Umar Gul, who did not make the eleven in the first Test, which India won by six wickets, bowled at full steam in the nets and has recovered fully from a back niggle; he should be able to step in should Shoaib not be fit in time. The Pakistan management, not taking any chances, gave Mohammad Sami the day off.
Misbah-ul-Haq was suffering through flu off-and-on through the Delhi Test, and did not take the field, but his condition has improved significantly and he was still able to bat through the illness.
The Indian team, in contrast, had no real fitness worries. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was struggling with an ankle injury, went through a full practice session, monitored closely by John Gloster, the physiotherapist, and Greg King, the trainer. Dhoni, who was initially involved in hitting slip catches, later took catches fired at him from short range by Robin Singh, the fielding coach, and King, who stood a few metres apart and hit balls alternatively to Dhoni, making him stretch from one side to the other in the course of taking his catches. Later Dhoni repeated the exercise while half lying on the field, ensuring that he had could not use his feet and had to lunge to his left and right.
Murali Kartik suffered a minor yet painful blow when he collided with Venkatesh Prasad, India's bowling coach, during one of the warm-up games that the team plays. This left him with a rather sore and cut lower lip, but was otherwise fine.