| Sourav at Mumbai airport. (Fotocorp)
Oct. 18: Sourav Ganguly, who was declared fit to play a Duleep Trophy match from October 20, told his Calcutta doctor before leaving for the medical test in Mumbai: “Don’t worry' I’ll come back into the team.”
The comeback bid will start at Rajkot against North Zone when Sourav leads East Zone out to the field with the India team doctor, Anant Joshi, and physio John Gloster confirming after fitness tests that the former captain’s tennis elbow had healed enough for him to play the most important Duleep match of his life.
“Dr Anant Joshi and Gloster re-evaluated Ganguly’s elbow and were of the opinion that he has improved enough to participate in the Duleep Trophy match,” Ratnakar Shetty, the executive secretary in-charge of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, said.
“Participation in this match will give a better overall picture as to the status of his recovery.”
Joshi and Gloster examined Sourav for 30 minutes behind closed doors in a room at Hotel Orchid near the domestic airport in Mumbai. No other details were made available to the media after the examination, nor did Sourav say anything after emerging from the test.
But, before leaving for Mumbai, he told Calcutta-based orthopaedic and family friend Dr Kalyan Mukherjee: “Kalyan-da, tumi kichhu chinta koro na (don’t worry), I will come back into the team.”
Mukherjee credited Dr Joshi for his role in getting Sourav fit for the match. “We worked together to provide Sourav the perfect regimen for getting fit quickly,” Mukherjee said.
Sourav is expected to travel to Rajkot from Mumbai tomorrow while his former India team-mates gather for a three-day camp in Bangalore, the city of the current India captain, Rahul Dravid, which is also the place coach Greg Chappell has made his home in India.
Sourav had been training the past few days, mostly running and working out at the gym, but picked up the bat yesterday for about 80-90 minutes.
Mukherjee and the Ganguly family were a little apprehensive about the nets. “After one and a half hours of intense practice, he did feel some pain in his elbow, but that was understandable since he was holding the bat and bowled after a long layoff,” said Mukherjee.
“But he told me not to worry then, he told me not to worry now.”
The doctor revealed the joy in the family when news reached of Sourav having been medically cleared to play.
Sourav’s case was diagnosed as mild tennis elbow and the Type I state of the disease, which is easily treatable. “We did not waste any time and did not let the problem take a serious turn. Instead, we got some medication and gadgets from the US and tried the latest techniques to get Sourav fit for the (medical) test and the Rajkot tie. All our efforts seem to have paid dividend,” Mukherjee added.
The final dividend will, of course, be his selection back in the team. At Rajkot, Sourav has to put some runs on the board in order for the selectors to consider him for the third ODI against Sri Lanka at Jaipur on October 31 and the subsequent four matches of the series.
There have been some reports of a green-top wicket at Rajkot being prepared to create trouble for Sourav because of his perceived weakness against fast bowling. Among North Zone’s pacers, V.R.V. Singh, who caught attention in the recent Challenger Trophy matches, is said to be the quickest in India now.
With inputs from Satish Nandgaonkar in Mumbai