The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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- Sachin to confidant: 'Eventually, I may not have a choice'

Bangalore, Oct. 10: With No.7 Parthiv Patel top-scoring in the first innings and No.8 Irfan Pathan almost doing so in the second, Sourav Ganguly and John Wright's desperation has grown.

Given that Australia today emerged winners by 217 runs in the first of four TVS-sponsored Tests, it probably couldn't be otherwise.

As a way out of this morass, the Team India captain and coach are contemplating urging Sachin Tendulkar to make himself available for the second Test (in Chennai from Thursday), even if his recovery from the tennis elbow isn't complete.

According to The Telegraph's sources, Sachin is himself keen ' only, he isn't sure whether a risk should be taken after just two days (Tuesday, Wednesday) of full-fledged nets in almost two months.

The maestro has been off cricket from mid-August.

Apparently, this afternoon, Sachin told a confidant it's a 'tricky situation' but added in much the same breath: 'Eventually, I may not be left with a choice....'

Sourav and Wright are convinced Sachin alone can lift the morale after such a crushing defeat. In any case, his presence in the XI will have an effect on the Australians who are unlikely to concede ground (by unforced errors) in the remainder of this series.

In fact, the other day, Wright indicated that 'even an 85 per cent fit Sachin' would do.

For his part, Sachin again spent a couple of hours at the hi-tech National Cricket Academy gym here and is 'preparing' to absorb the 'impact of 150 deliveries' on his left elbow.

In other words, if Sachin is comfortable after facing the equivalent of 25 overs at nets in Chennai, he's definitely going to make himself available.

'Look, today, it's difficult predicting how that elbow will respond.... Sachin has rested and, as important, strengthened the muscles in that area. However, it's to be seen how he feels after nets,' the confidant explained.

He added: 'Incidentally, even though Sachin was in the XV for the first Test, those who matter knew he wouldn't be playing.... The build-up to Chennai, however, is pretty encouraging.... But....'

Fingers, therefore, must still remain crossed.

To talk of the Test which finished within an hour after the final day's lunch, well, Pathan (55 in 196 minutes, 141 balls, 8x4, 2x6) and Harbhajan Singh (42 in 99 minutes, 67 deliveries, 7x4, 1x6) embarrassed the more accomplished by launching into the world's most respected attack with disdain.

Coming together after vice-captain Rahul Dravid's departure for 60, they added a record-rewriting 89 for the ninth-wicket and compelled stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist to call for the second new ball as soon as due.

It fell to Jason Gillespie to end the Pathan-Harbhajan picnic, a feature of which was arguably the shot of the match: A Harbhajan four off the front-foot in Glenn McGrath's second over with the new 'cherry'.

Even No.11 Zaheer Khan helped himself to an unbeaten 22 from 20 deliveries. Surely, the bottomline would have been very different had his peers showed as much pluck. Or, if Sourav had won the toss.

What counts, though, is that India have now lost three of their last four Tests (one drawn) at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

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