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Sourav sets Wednesday return
- Indian captain ‘much better’, Inzamam still hurting from loss

Lahore, April 3: Regular Team India captain Sourav Ganguly is returning to Pakistan on Wednesday evening. Sourav, who hurt himself fielding in the ODI-decider at the Gaddafi on March 24, went home on Thursday to consult a specialist for the back injury.

“I’m much better and, so, will return four days from now.... I’d told you in Multan itself that I can’t miss the entire Test series,” Sourav informed The Telegraph when contacted on his cellphone in Calcutta. He should, therefore, be available for the third and final Test (from April 13, in Rawalpindi).

While the regular captain is coming back, Zaheer Khan returns home on Monday. The reports have been conflicting, but it does appear that his right hamstring tendon is bruised — apparently, the result of “overload”. In any case, Zaheer had been ruled out of the second Test, beginning here in two days.

The minimum recovery time is two weeks, but Zaheer must be careful. It’s not insignificant that he broke down in each of his last three Tests — Brisbane, Melbourne and Multan.

If injuries have been the prime concern for India, Pakistan is yet to come to terms with the innings defeat in Multan. According to sources, a high-level post-mortem was conducted last night with board chief executive Rameez Raja in the chair.

Present were captain Inzamam-ul Haq, coach Javed Miandad (who has been moaning about being made a “target”), manager Haroon Rashid and special invitee Moin Khan.

Rameez, one understands, “emphasised” that unless all 11 players feel the “hurt”, they won’t be able to bounce back at the Gaddafi. He also made the point about not blaming the wicket. He is believed to have said that the defeat was brought about by “poor batting, bowling and fielding” — not the pitch.

However, in a move aimed at lifting poor Inzamam’s morale, it’s been decided by the board that the captain is going to have the “final say” over the wicket both here and in Rawalpindi.

Actually, that’s double-edged: After all, if anything goes wrong, Inzamam won’t be able to blame anybody as the proverbial buck will stop with him.

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