The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sachin to open India Room at The Oval

Calcutta: For the second time in six months, the tsunami cause is taking Sachin Tendulkar overseas ' Lordís and The Oval on this occasion ' even though he canít play.

In January, Sachin had travelled to Melbourne for the officially-sanctioned Asia XI versus ICC XI match. He did so knowing he couldnít take the field owing to a painful left elbow.

Sachin was to feature in both upcoming fund-raisers (June 14 at Lordís and June 20 at The Oval), but the elbow surgery in London late last month proved a spoiler.

The icon, however, will have a role on both days.

While the MCC, organisers of the June 14 match between an MCC XI and an International XI, are going to involve Sachin at the break, Surrey have something very formal lined up prior to the start of the Twenty20 Asia XI versus International XI face-off six days later.

Specifically, Sachin will inaugurate ' jointly with Kamlesh Sharma, our high commissioner in the UK ' the India Room in the swanky new stand at The Oval.

The stand has been built at a cost of around ' 25 million, with hefty contributions from well-heeled Indian expats, and the memorabilia-enriched India Room is going to accommodate 160 fans.

Sachinís role at Lordís, though, will be different: Offering tips to the highest bidder of an on-line auction, for all of 15 minutes, besides escorting the winner for an over from the numero uno wicket-taker in Tests, Shane Warne.

ďAs I canít even shadow-bat, I wonít actually be illustrating any stroke' The tips are going to be verbal,Ē Sachin told The Telegraph.

Speaking from his Mumbai residence on Wednesday evening, he added: ďI realise a role awaits me both at Lordís and The Oval, but I would have gone even if I had nothing to do. Itís about supporting a cause.ĒOf course.

V.V.S. Laxman has taken Sachinís place for the June 14 match, while Mohammed Kaif has been called up for the Twenty20 face-off.

Sachin, by the way, said surgery wasnít on the Ďagendaí when he and the family set off for a holiday a few days after Pakistanís tour of India ended in mid-April.

ďI consulted Dr Chris Bradshaw, who had treated me last year (when the problem first surfaced), and he suggested fresh scans. The reports revealed that the tennis elbow had worsened and I was advised surgery' It meant I would be out for 16 weeks, but I didnít have a choice,Ē he observed.

The 25-minute surgery, however, was performed by Dr Andrew Wallace and Sachin spent just a night in hospital. Incidentally, he will be meeting the surgeon in London next week.

ďI do expect to be playing competitive cricket 16 weeks after surgery, but the pace of recovery can differ from person to person. So, today, I canít put a date on my expected comeback in the big league,Ē he pointed out.

Besides the 2005-06 season-launching tri-series in Sri Lanka, Sachin may have to miss the entire tour of Zimbabwe.

Asked whether he could attend next monthís fitness-specific camp, the first under new coach Greg Chappell, Sachin responded: ďItís too early to make a definite comment' Letís see'Ē

Meanwhile, the much-awaited one-on-one between Sachin and Chappell is unlikely during the latterís forthcoming visit to Mumbai.

Sachin, after all, is going to be in London when Chappell arrives there on June 15 for a few days before heading off to Bangalore.

Footnote: Sachin hasnít exactly been following international cricket for the past few weeks, but is aware that Brian Lara is fast catching up. The West Indian had 26 Test hundreds when Sachin got the world record-equalling 34th last December. Since then, Lara has added four to be only four adrift'

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