Bruised Kumble may miss final too

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2000, 0:15 [IST]
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Sharjah: India's spinning ace Anil Kumble might have to miss the final of Coca Cola Cup tri-series against Sri Lanka on Sunday with a bruised shoulder bone for which he needs rest for 3 to 4 weeks.Coach Aunshuman Gaekwad, however, only confirmed that Kumble is ruled out for the inconsequential last league match against Sri Lanka on Friday. ''He has a bruised shoulder bone and a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has been done. Experts feel he needs rest for 3 to 4 weeks,'' Gaekwad said. ''It has been hurting him (Kumble) while bowling,'' he said.Earlier, he had said that Kumble would play only if ''absolutely necessary''.

Skipper Saurav Ganguly said he would not like to risk his ace bowler with a busy season ahead.If the injury persists, Kumble might also miss the inaugural Test match of Bangladesh to be played in Dhaka from November 10. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe are to reach India on November 5 for a two-Test seriesbesides a five One-dayers. A decision on India's proposed tour to Pakistan in January is also expected next month as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) await a nod from the government with ties between the two countries at the lowest ebb.

Australia are to tour India thereafter.Kumble played only the first match against Sri Lanka and bowled his full quota of 10 overs taking one wicket for 50 runs. As injury forced him out, left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi walked in and has performed well both with the ball and the bat, much to Ganguly's relief. Kumble is the second blow through injuries in the Indian squad. Rahul Dravid had to go out of the tournament with a broken finger in the left hand, injured during the first phase league tie against Zimbabwe and Uttar Pradesh all-rounder Mohammad Kaif was flown in as a replacement.

However, the in case of Kumble, the Indian team management has not asked for any replacement, perhaps not willing to leave the option of playing him in Sunday's (October 29) final if his condition improved.Seamer Venkatesh Prasad is also not hundred per cent fit. He went into Thursday's match with a stiff neck. But Gaekwad said he would play. ''Venky is a fighter and played despite the stiff neck.'' Prasad bowled full 10 overs taking 2 for 38. UNI

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