The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Surgery likely on Harbhajan

New Delhi, June 14 (PTI): A day after Lancashire cancelled their contract with Harbhajan Singh for reportedly failing a “fitness test”, the off-spinner said it was he who took the decision against joining the county after he found his injured finger still swelling a bit.

He said he took the “difficult but honourable stand befitting a good professional” as he did not want Lancashire to be stranded mid-way the county season.

In Mumbai Saturday afternoon, Harbhajan, who sustained his injury during India’s tour to New Zealand earlier this year, underwent an MRI scan. He is likely to undergo surgery at a hospital in Baltimore, where Sachin Tendulkar underwent a successful surgery. Sachin had been operated at the Sinai hospital there by orthopaedic surgeon Dror Paley.

BCCI doctor and sports medicine expert Dr Anant Joshi said: “Specialist Dr Sudhir Warrior, who also treated Sachin’s finger, advised the US trip. However, it will take at least a couple of days for us (the two doctors and Harbhajan) to come to a final decision. I’m going to Japan tonight but will keep in touch with both Harbhajan and Dr Warrior about the developments,” Joshi said.

“If his finger needs to be operated then the first choice would be to send him to the US as the doctors over there have done a very good job on Sachin’s finger recently,” he said.

On his not joining Lancashire, Harbhajan said: “I am not one who lets people down and I didn’t want a situation where I could have left Lancashire stranded midway the county season.”

The ace off-spinner was all set to join Lancashire staff Friday, but he thought it fit to bowl in the nets and see how his injured hand was responding to the strain.

To his disappointment, he found it swelling up a bit and he didn’t take a minute to arrive at the decision. “It wouldn’t have been ethical if I had still gone ahead and played for the county. After all, how could I have been sure it wouldn’t play up in the middle of county season'

“Besides, I have to be sure any cricket decision I take suits me and above all my country as nothing comes above than playing for India,” he said.

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