The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No shoulder to lean on
Sachin out for 8 weeks

Mumbai, March 21: The weight of expectations has taken its toll.

After carrying the hopes of a billion and more for 16 years, Sachin Tendulkar’s shoulder has given way. He’s to undergo surgery for the second time inside 10 months ' only, on the right shoulder and not the left elbow.

This, too, will be performed in London by Dr Andrew Wallace.

The announcement by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), late this evening, relegated to the background the potentially thrilling finish to the India versus England Test series. Had Team India been listed on the bourses, the stock would have crashed.

It’s possible chairman Kiran More was taken into confidence, but the other four selectors were stunned when joint-secretary Mohinder Pandove began reading physio John Gloster’s “injury report” during the meeting to name 15 for the first three ODIs against England.

Sachin needs surgery for a “posterior labrum tear of the right shoulder with an associated para-labral cyst” and is going to be out for “approximately eight weeks”.

Besides missing all seven ODIs versus England and the two matches against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, next month, he won’t play the five ODIs in the West Indies (May 18-28).

Given that Sachin’s recovery is usually slow and he isn’t getting any younger (he turns 33 in just over a month), it’s open to speculation whether he will even be fit for the four Tests in the West Indies, immediately after the ODIs.

Incidentally, surgery has become necessary owing to the cyst’s “close proximity” to a “major nerve”.

The problem cropped up during Sachin’s comeback (after the elbow surgery) series last October, versus Sri Lanka, and the “conservative treatment” didn’t work.

“The date for surgery hasn’t been fixed, but it’s going to be at the earliest. The president (Sharad Pawar) and secretary (Niranjan Shah) will be back from Dubai tomorrow and the needful should be done straightaway,” Pandove told The Telegraph. Even he had no idea about the injury till he began reading Gloster’s report.

Owing to pain (not that it stopped him from brilliantly running out Owais Shah this afternoon), Sachin’s throwing has been hampered. Even his batting must have been getting affected, though Gloster feels otherwise. For the record, Sachin’s last 50-plus score in Tests was 11 innings ago.

It’s bad enough being conscious about the left elbow; worse when you’ve got to worry about the right shoulder, too.

Unless a miracle occurs and Sachin isn’t required to bat on the concluding day of the three-Test series, the morrow is going to be his last appearance for some time. Those who booed him the other day are bound to give a standing ovation.

Needing 313 to win 2-0, India were 18 for one at stumps. History and the numbers don’t favour, but absolutely anything is possible. Indeed, those with a weak heart ought to stay away from the Wankhede.

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