Top Indian players to be fit for SA tour

Published: Monday, September 3, 2001, 21:58 [IST]
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Mumbai: Top Indian cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath are expected to be fit for India's upcoming tour of South Africa.
The national selectors will name the captain on Thursday and the team the following day for the two-month tour beginning later in October. India will play a triangular One-day series, also featuring Kenya, from October 5 to 27 and three Tests against South Africa at Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Centurion Park. Tendulkar's physician Anant Joshi said the master batsman had informed him that he would go to South Africa even if he suffered bearable pain. "At the moment, he is feeling no pain," he told. However, Tendulkar will meet his doctor again to have a final examination before informing the selectors of his fitness. Tendulkar missed the recent tour of Sri Lanka due to a toe injury sustained in a triangular series in Zimbabwe this July. Ace leg spinner Kumble, out of action since a triangular One-day series in Sharjah last October because of a shoulder injury, has already informed the BCCI that he is fit and available for selection. Fast bowler Srinath told the Press Trust of India (PTI) in Bangalore that he expected to recover fully from a finger injury sustained in Sri Lanka in August. "I should be alright in one and a half weeks," said Srinath, who returned home after suffering the injury in the opening Test of the recent Sri Lankan three-match series at Galle. The Board also asked middle-order batsman Venkat Sai Laxman, recovering from a knee operation, to provide a fitness update before Friday. Laxman, who played in a triangular One-day series at Colombo last month, had to miss the three-Test series due to the knee injury. Left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra, suffering from a groin injury, was also ruled out of the recent series won 2-1 by Sri Lanka. Skipper Saurav Ganguly said that injury to key players was one of the main reasons for his team's defeat. "What can be done if three of your bowlers are injured? Injuries are part of the game, you can't help it," he said after his team's arrival in Madras. The Indian skipper conceded that his team played good cricket only in patches in Sri Lanka, losing both the triangular One-day series and the Tests. "At least we won a Test, but international cricket is tough. This tour was no exception," Ganguly said, referring to his team's only win in the second Test at Kandy. "The tour of South Africa is going to be tougher," he added. Meanwhile, the Board has advanced the team's departure by five days in order to give players time to adjust themselves to the fast pitches in South Africa. "This will help the team in adjusting itself to the conditions in South Africa," Board secretary Jayawant Lele told PTI. The team will leave on September 24.

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