The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sourav undergoes minor surgery
- Team India captain intent on beating the odds: ‘I can’t miss a Test, can I'’

Chandigarh: Team India captain Sourav Ganguly underwent minor surgery on Tuesday evening, but is intent on playing the second (and final) Test against New Zealand, in neighbouring Mohali from Thursday. Test No.1, in Motera, ended in a stalemate.

Sourav, troubled by a boil in the left hip region for over a week, was operated upon at the state-of-art Fortis Heart Institute and Multi Speciality Hospital in Mohali. He was admitted around 3.00 pm and discharged (on a wheelchair) three hours later.

The boil surfaced on the eve of the Motera Test and, with India batting first, Sourav had to take guard one slot lower in innings No.1. He still got an unbeaten hundred, though.

Surgery, of course, wasn’t on the captain’s mind when he left the Team India practice for a check-up at the hospital. There, however, doctors recommended an immediate “incision” under general anaesthesia. Senior surgeon N.M.Gupta took charge.

“I had no choice... The doctors felt the infection could spread... Was I tense' Yes, because never before had I been operated upon,” Sourav told The Telegraph moments after being discharged. Earlier, this Correspondent was the first visitor allowed into the hospital’s ‘recovery room’ for a brief interaction with the captain.

During those five minutes, Sourav kept repeating he was in pain. Moreover, he was uncomfortable with the operation theatre’s green cap and wanted it removed. He was, though, all praise for the medical team.

The surgery itself didn’t take too long, but the doctors kept Sourav under observation for a couple of hours.

“The pus has all been removed... Where we’re concerned, he should be able to play. But, then, that decision will be taken by the captain himself and the physio (Andrew Leipus),” announced Dr Gurbir Singh, the hospital’s medical director.

While Sourav was under the impression that the incision required a couple of stitches, Dr Singh said the area had only been “packed and dressed.” The medical director added: “If he does play, we will have a special team at the ground (PCA Stadium) to change the dressing after every session...”

A decision on whether the captain will take the field clearly won’t be taken in a hurry. Indeed, just how comfortable (or otherwise) he is tonight, will have a huge bearing. What’s certain is that he won’t be practising in the morning.

For his part, Sourav is determined. “I can’t miss a Test, can I' Certainly not this one... Eventually, it will have to be my decision alone,” he pointed out, his voice hoarse after the day’s happenings.

Incidentally, at the team hotel, local hero Yuvraj Singh was the first to call on Sourav. “Kya hua' Aap theek to ho'” he asked. In case the captain pulls out, the only reserve batsman in the XIV is Yuvraj.

[By the way, according to chief selector Syed Kirmani, there has been “no discussion” on possibly asking somebody to be on stand-by.]

Yuvraj was followed by Leipus, who had accompanied Sourav to the hospital. The physio briefed him about the medicines and left after saying: “Give me a shout if anything is amiss.” Later, as Sourav prepared for a short nap (after biting at a vegetable sandwich), coach John Wright knocked on his door.

Assuming the captain is fit, the Team India XI should remain unchanged.

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