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UCB seeks govt nod
- BCCI confirms Sachin, Dravid unavailability

Calcutta: Even as the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) has sought a “fresh advisory” from Pretoria on visiting Bangladesh, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has confirmed Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid aren’t available for the April 11-20 tri-series (TVS Cup) there.

“We have moved for a fresh advisory, from the government, on whether it will be okay to tour Bangladesh… We expect to hear in a couple of days and, only then, will a statement be issued,” informed UCBSA spokesperson Bronwyn Wilkinson, when contacted in Johannesburg, Monday afternoon.

Besides that tournament, South Africa are to play two Tests — in Chittagong and Dhaka, from April 24-May 5. Events in Iraq, which made South Africa withdraw from the Sharjah Cup (beginning Thursday), have forced a question mark over the Bangladesh visit.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board, though, is drawing up contingency plans and the tri-series (at least) will go ahead even if South Africa pulls out. Apparently, Zimbabwe and Kenya have been “sounded out”.

Exposure-starved Kenya, it may be recalled, took South Africa’s place in the Sharjah Cup, while Zimbabwe became the fourth team in what was intended to be a triangular tournament.

Meanwhile, as reported in these columns on March 22 itself, Team India will be without some of the biggest names. Indeed, BCCI secretary S.K.Nair has confirmed Sachin and vice-captain Dravid, both of whom have finger injuries, aren’t available.

Then, Ashish Nehra is to undergo ankle surgery, while Anil Kumble too may decide to give the ill-timed tri-series a skip. As for Jawagal Srinath, he is keeping everybody guessing.

Significantly, captain Sourav Ganguly isn’t fully fit either. “As of now, however, I’m going,” he told The Telegraph late Monday.

The squad will be picked in Mumbai Wednesday, on the morning after Sahara India Pariwar’s star-spangled deluxe apartments’-presentation ceremony at Amby Valley.

The World Cup XV apart, the beneficiaries are: Coach John Wright, physio Andrew Leipus and physical trainer Adrian le Roux. It’s nice, of course, that the support staff is also getting rewarded.

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