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Sachin, Dhoni to be rested for Bangalore Test
- Comebacks for Yuvraj, Gambhir, Pathan and Ishant

Bangalore: Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will (as of Friday night) be rested in the third and final Test against Pakistan, which begins here on Saturday.

That Dhoni could be given a break was reported in these columns on Thursday itself. Sachin’s is the new development.

“I hurt my right knee batting during the Kanpur ODI (last month) and it got aggravated while fielding in Calcutta,” Sachin told The Telegraph.

The maestro was given a cortisone shot on Thursday, but the selectors and the team management have decided to play it safe.

The tour of Australia, after all, is days away.

Dhoni has two problems — the left ankle and the webbing of his left hand. According to physio John Gloster, he requires a week’s rest.

Clearly, it’s another double blow for Team India, following the non-availability of Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel, both of whom had to be left out of the squad for the concluding IndianOil Cup face-off.

The hosts are ahead 1-0, but the injuries are a cause for much concern. The question, however, is: Just how concerned is the Board'

Given its track record, one wouldn’t be surprised if the Board still hasn’t woken up to the reality of such poor scheduling.

The final Test is (again, as of Friday night) going to see four comebacks.

Gautam Gambhir, whose last appearance at this level was exactly two years ago, will open with Wasim Jaffer. Then, Yuvraj Singh is going to make the XI for the first time since July 2006, while Irfan Pathan’s last Test was a month before Yuvraj’s. Ishant Sharma played in May this year.

Dinesh Karthik, one learns, will bat at No. 7. The rather extraordinary turn of events has given him the chance to make amends for flopping in the first two Tests.

It couldn’t be confirmed, but Pakistan may drop Mohammed Sami and play either Rao Iftikhar Anjum or Yasir Arafat. Both have come as replacements.

The visitors’ captaincy issue has been settled for now, but one can never tell what’s brewing in their camp.

With Pakistan having won the last two Tests in Bangalore, Younis Khan and his men won’t have to dig deep for inspiration. Not that anything comes on a platter at this level, but still.

Inclement weather forced the teams to train indoors — at the National Cricket Academy, where Dav Whatmore (who’d been in the running to coach India and Pakistan) is the director — and the forecast isn’t good for Day I either.

So, it’s to be seen whether Saturday actually sees some cricket.

TEAMS

India (expected): Wasim Jaffer, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma.

Pakistan (from): Salman Butt, Yasir Hameed, Younis Khan, Mohammed Yousuf, Misbah-ul Haq, Faisal Iqbal, Kamran Akmal, Sohail Tanveer, Shoaib Akhtar, Danish Kaneria, Mohammed Sami/ Rao Iftikhar Anjum/Yasir Arafat.

Umpires: Simon Taufel, Rudi Koertzen. TV: G.A. Pratapkumar.

Match Referee: Ranjan Madugalle.

Scheduled start: 9.30 am.

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