The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Leipus absence a blow: Sourav

Calcutta: The top guns of Indian cricket may have opted out of the Dhaka tri-series, but it isn’t their absence that is worrying skipper Sourav Ganguly.

In fact, what has him worried is that Andrew Leipus, the team physio, won’t be there to attend to his boys in the series, also featuring South Africa and Bangladesh.

“The conditions are hot and humid and we badly needed Andrew for the tour. It’s a blow that he will not be there,” Sourav said, before boarding the flight to the Bangladesh capital Wednesday morning.

Leipus made himself unavailable for the tour on Tuesday to return to Johannesburg and be with his wife after she met with an accident.

However, the captain hoped that his boys would be able to acclimatise fast.

“They are used to the heat and humidity and I’m confident they will be able to adapt themselves,” Sourav said.

The captain said the youngsters would have to shoulder added responsibility in the absence of the seniors. “Yuvraj has played some great knocks in pressure situations and I believe he will repeat that once again.”

When asked whether the responsibility of vice-captaincy would put Virender Sehwag under pressure, Sourav said: “True, the responsibility is more, but he should continue playing in his swashbuckling way.”

Indicating that he might continue in the middle-order. “Sehwag is sure to open. As far as I’m concerned, the final decision will be taken after we reach Dhaka.

“It’s all about getting the combinations right and we’ll decide on it after seeing the prevailing conditions.”

India start their engagements on Friday against Bangladesh.

However, the captain made no bones about the fact that he is ‘struggling’ with his back problem. “It’s still there, let’s see how it goes,” Sourav added.

Talking about India’s prospects in the forthcoming tournament, he said: “It’s a good, talented side and a perfect platform for the young guns to fire.”

Sourav seemed to have high hopes of rookie pacer Avishkar Salvi.

“Though I haven’t seen him bowl, I’ve heard a lot about him. In fact, I asked for him during the New Zealand tour. I hope he does justice to his potential.”

Salvi was the find of India A’s tour of the West Indies where he took 29 wickets and was highly praised by coach Ashok Malhotra, who is accompanying the team on this tour as well.

Talking about the opposition, Sourav said: “South Africa, like ourselves, have a very young side. I’m sure it’ll be a good fight.”

Incidentally, India’s first encounter with the Graeme Smith-led South Africa is on Sunday.

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