Visakhapatnam, Feb. 15: Sachin Tendulkar, on whom rests much of Team India’s hopes in the World Cup, is down with a “stiff and sore back”.
In fact, he hasn’t even come here for the fourth and final ODI, against Sri Lanka, on Saturday.
The series is tied 1-1.
“Sachin had a problem in Goa yesterday (during the third ODI) itself and, so, stayed back in Mumbai this morning.… At this point in time, this rest is a precautionary exercise, but he will obviously be monitored,” a well-placed source told The Telegraph this evening.
The gentleman couldn’t confirm whether the maestro, who scored only one in Goa, had undergone a scan.
Fingers are being kept crossed as Sachin has already had a major back problem. Indeed, in recent years, continuous cricket has taken its toll on different parts of the 33-year-old’s body — elbow, shoulder.…
That there’s concern is understandable as India’s first match in the World Cup is just over a month away — versus Bangladesh, in Port of Spain, on March 17.
Strangely, till late at night, senior national selector Venkatapathi Raju was in the dark. “I haven’t heard anything officially, but somebody did say Sachin’s back is sore,” is what he said.
Raju arrived here this afternoon, some hours after the teams got in from Goa via Mumbai. He added: “I assume (chief selector) Dilip Vengsarkar, who is coming here tomorrow, knows what’s happening.”
Irfan Pathan is still not “one hundred per cent fit” and Zaheer Khan has a muscle problem — it surfaced on the eve of the Rajkot ODI — in the region of his bowling shoulder. While Pathan is almost certain to be kept out of the decider as well, Zaheer (who returned career-best figures of five for 42 in Goa) may still play. It’s with good reason that captain Rahul Dravid and coach Greg Chappell are moving about with creased foreheads.