| Yuvraj Singh
Calcutta: Nobody expects the Tatenda Taibu-captained Zimbabwe to bother Team India in the two-Test series which gets underway in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
Off the field, though, the hosts continue to make life difficult for Sourav Ganguly and Co.
On Sunday night, for example, the bus assigned to pick up our cricketers reached Bulawayo airport a good 70 minutes after their flight from Harare landed!
By then, manager Amitabh Choudhary had accommodated most in two hired cars and two police vehicles.
The rest were waiting for the hired cars to return when the bus put in an appearance. Only the last lot, therefore, could avail of the official transport.
Then, on Monday afternoon, the Indians learnt Bulawayo didn’t have any clinic/hospital with MRI facility to investigate Lakshmipathy Balaji’s problem.
The injury-prone speedster has been complaining of a “sore right leg.”
Choudhary wasn’t available for comment, but a well-placed source told The Telegraph: “It’s shocking that an MRI can’t be done at a regular Test centre' Back in India, a similar shortcoming would have caused an uproar'”
Till late at night, no decision had been taken on sending Balaji to Harare.
Balaji (and Sourav, who had a painful right elbow) were advised an MRI in Mutare itself, during the three-dayer, but even that city ' which is off the border with Mozambique ' didn’t have any facility.
On reaching Bulawayo, physio John Gloster and Sourav himself felt an investigation on the elbow wasn’t absolutely necessary. Balaji, however, needed an MRI.
That must wait.
Meanwhile, it’s possible that Anil Kumble will be the sole specialist spinner in the Team India XI for Test No. 1.
Harbhajan Singh, last dropped in the Mohali Test versus Pakistan six months ago, apparently is in a toss-up with Ajit Agarkar.
Both Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif seem to be in the frame, so to say, but indications are that Yuvraj is going to make a Test comeback after 11 months.
Among the runs in the recent one-day competitions in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, Yuvraj last played in Chennai (against Australia).
There were whispers that Sourav ' who is hours away from a captaincy landmark ' would open with Virender Sehwag to ‘accommodate’ Kaif, but that won’t happen.
(as of Monday night)
Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh/Ajit Agarkar, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan.