| Sachin Tendulkar
Calcutta: Sachin Tendulkar, who has been advised to give his left elbow 'complete rest,' appears doubtful for the January 10 tsunami fund-raiser at the MCG.
It was assumed he would be available for the limited-overs game between the ICC XI and an Asia XI, the first in a series of two matches, but there's now a question mark.
'The selectors are going to be guided by the experts' opinion on Sachin,' Asian Cricket Council president Jagmohan Dalmiya told The Telegraph late on Sunday. Apparently, he will speak to Team India physio Andrew Leipus and Dr Anant Joshi before the selectors meet in Dhaka on Monday morning.
Contacted on his cell, Leipus indicated one possibility was including Sachin in the XIV but only making him field for some time ' given that he is such a huge crowd-puller.
The doubt over Sachin has added to the Asian selectors' headache. Afterall, four Pakistanis ' Inzamam-ul Haq, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammed Sami and Shoaib Malik ' are already on the injured list. As is Irfan Pathan. Also, it's not clear whether Muttiah Muralidharan can make it.
The selectors, one understands, are going to speak to Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer before drawing up their list. Murali, too, may be contacted.
If all those with a question mark are actually ruled out, the selectors could end up with an under-strength squad. The ICC XI is, of course, power-packed.
India, it seems, will have the biggest presence. Moreover, as reported in these columns on Sunday, the captaincy is headed Sourav Ganguly's way.
Bangladesh, by the way, are going to have token representation as the MCG game clashes with the first Test (in Chittagong) against Zimbabwe. It means sure-shot wicketkeeper Khaled Mashud has to miss out.
Significantly, Woolmer is set to be named Asia's coach. The rest of the support staff will also be from Pakistan.
Postscript: There's uncertainty over Pakistan chief selector Wasim Bari's presence in Dhaka. If even a nominee doesn't make it, a tele-conference with Bari is a possibility. Meanwhile, the move for ODI-status continues both for the January 10 match and the one to be played in mid-February ' in all probability, at the Eden.