The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Injured Nehra forced to return
- Drama as Agarkar is ‘pulled out’ of aircraft in Johannesburg

Mutare: Left-arm mediumpacer Ashish Nehra is returning home because of a back problem and Ajit Agarkar will remain with the squad for the two Tests against Zimbabwe.

“Nehra has that niggle on his buttock again. He felt he would not be able to complete two Tests, so the management took a decision,” said team physio John Gloster at the Mutare Sports Club ground Thursday morning. The problem flared up during the tri-series final.

There was drama in the wake of the development as Agarkar had already boarded the flight back home and was asked to disembark at the Johannesburg International Airport.

“A couple of things still remain to be sorted out: Agarkar’s luggage has to be pulled out from the aircraft, and he has to be allowed back in Harare since he was carrying only a single entry visa,” said manager Amitabh Choudhary.

Gloster said the injury to Nehra was a one-off thing.

Choudhary added that Nehra, who came with the squad to Mutare, will now leave for Harare and take a flight back home. On his way back, he will spend three days in South Africa for his rehabilitation with experts.

Gloster said the team management did not have time to make a decision on Nehra till late last night. “He’s now got a break of five to six weeks before the Sri Lanka series during which he can really work hard. He has to exercise and improve strength in those areas. But he should be alright for the Sri Lanka series.”

There was another scare, though minor in nature, when off-spinner Harbhajan Singh complained of stomach trouble and did not come with the rest of the squad to the ground where Indians began their three-day game against Zimbabwe Board President’s XI.

Gloster also took time to dwell on the fitness of Sachin Tendulkar and said the maestro will start practise by the 14th or 15th of this month.

“I spoke to him only yesterday. He is doing well with the strength work and looking to start batting proper on 14th or 15th. That is the plan at the moment.”

Gloster said that Sachin desisted from coming to Zimbabwe because he was not sure about the load his elbow could take when faced with strenuous cricket.

“Strength is the most important component. He is the best judge of how he feels in terms of strength.

“I have to leave that to him, me being here and he being there. But I am more than confident of his own appraisal of the situation.”

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