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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Mumbai sweat on Tendulkar's fitness

Mumbai sweat on Tendulkar's fitness

April 17, 2008 19:03 IST

Mumbai Indians are still sweating on the fitness of captain Sachin Tendulkar after the master batsman said on Thursday that his participation in the team's opening match in Mumbai on Sunday is still doubtful.

Tendulkar, who was ruled out of the last two Tests against South Africa because of a groin injury, said a decision would be taken before the start of the match against the Bangalore Royal Challengers on Sunday.

"Whether I will be fit for the first match or not, we will assess before the start and depending on my condition we will take a decision. As of now we haven't made any decision," Tendulkar said in Mumbai at the launch of the team.

The entire Mumbai squad was present at the event and they were given a traditional welcome. Tendulkar's childhood coach Ramakant Achrekar wished them good luck by applying a tilak on the players' foreheads made of sindoor from the Siddhivinayak and Mahalaxmi temples in Mumbai and mixed with the holy water from Mount Mary church and the sand from Shivaji Park, from where Tendulkar started playing his cricket.

Tendulkar also said there is no senior-junior divide in the team and everyone has an equal status.

"We had our first meeting and it was on the second or the third day of our practice sessions. That is when I told everyone that everybody is equal in the team. There are seniors who guide them and give them directions which is extremely important. But when it comes to approaching the game, everyone is equal and there won't be exceptions. The atmosphere in the team is terrific," he said.

The inaugural IPL kicks off in Bangalore on Friday with the Bangalore Royal Challengers taking on Shah Rukh Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders team. Mumbai launch their campaign in eight-team tournament at the Wankhede stadium.

Tendulkar, also a former India captain, stressed that it is important to be innovative in Twenty20 cricket and outsmart the opposition.

"I think in Twenty20 creativity is extremely important and that is what our batting side would be working on and even in bowling. Shaun [Pollock] has already spoken to our bowlers and give them a few tips. And for our batting, Dominic [Thornley] and Luke [Ronchi] will also share a few tips and Sanath [Jayasuriya] is there, I am there. It is all about exchanging your thoughts and talking cricket. I think that is what will be the key factor in Twenty20," he said.

"Introducing surprise elements will be extremely important," Tendulkar added.

The veteran batsman said he is excited and looking forward to the challenge of leading Mumbai.

"It is a great challenge to captain Mumbai and I am looking forward to it. There will be challenges and there will be obstacles but those are the challenges we are looking to embrace and go out and give our best," Tendulkar quipped.

The Mumbai Indians also announced that Harbhajan Singh will be the vice-captain.

Harbhajan said he would continue to play in his aggressive style despite being pitted against some of his team mates in the IPL. When asked if he will curb his aggression against his Indian colleagues, the off-spinner replied: "I will be more aggressive than before."

Harish Kotian in Mumbai