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Tendulkar doubtful for first Test against Aussies

September 14, 2004 23:14 IST

Sachin Tendulkar appears a doubtful starter for the first Test against Australia next month, with team physio Andrew Leipus saying the star batsman may not be fit in time for the tour opener scheduled just a week before the series proper.

Although Leipus did not categorically rule out Tendulkar being fit for the Test, starting October 6 at Bangalore, he set the ace batsman a tough target of batting 300 balls a day without pain.

"Usually he doesn't bother to play in side games but since he has been out of practice, he might have thought about giving himself try in that game and made himself available," Leipus said in Birmingham on Tuesday.

"But I wouldn't think he would be playing that game."

Australia are scheduled to open their Indian tour with a three-day match against Board President's XI at Hyderabad from September 30.

Leipus, who termed the tennis elbow injury to Tendulkar as the worst in the player's career, was hopeful of the batsman being able to lift his bat again in a week's time.

"He has had injuries in the past -- I wasn't there when he injured his back -- but compared to his toe and finger injury, this could be the worst of his career," said Leipus.

"Just the fact he wasn't able to lift the bat has been extremely frustrating to him."

Leipus said he does not have a personal opinion whether Tendulkar should be making himself available for the first Test or not.

"Once fitness has been declared, it is pretty much an arbitrary decision. Tendulkar is experienced enough and I would go with his call."

The physio said Tendulkar would ideally like to declare himself fit if he can bat for 300 balls during a day a target the two together are hoping to reach before the first Test against Australia.

Leipus credited the shockwave therapy Tendulkar received as the one which seems to have revived is fitness process.

"Initially he responded well in the nets in Holland for the first two days and batted well against the spinners.

"But then he faced the first ball from Ajit Agarkar which he went back to play down -- it kind of complicated his recovery process completely."

Leipus said Australian specialist for sports injuries, Chris Bradshaw, who has worked for football club Fulham in the past, has been of great help in Tendulkar's recovery.

There was a general sense of optimism in Leipus's tone as he said once the tissues are healed in the tennis elbow, there should not be any further worry for the player.

Leipus said he intends to continue his interaction with Tendulkar even after the Champions Trophy is over on September 25 as he would be returning to India along with the team.


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