Georgetown (Guyana): Off spinner Harbhajan Singh underwent MRI scan on his bothersome right shoulder in Trinidad on Monday and, while the report was still awaited, expressed confidence that he would be fit to play in the first Test against West Indies starting here on Thursday. But, with the experience of stalwarts like Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath and Radhul Dravid before it, the Indian team management was taking no chances as they decided to make the off spinner undergo a fitness test before the Test and arranged for fellow offie Sharandeep Singh to be flown in as a standby. "I feel confident about playing in the first Test against the West Indies," said Harbhajan who experienced pain in his right shoulder after hurling in a throw during Guyana Board President XI's second innings on Sunday. "After I threw in from the outfield, I was in extreme pain. I could not lift my hand," Harbhajan Singh said.
Though the MRI scan report was yet to come, the concerned doctor has apparently conveyed to the team management that the ace off spinner has no reason to worry. But team physio Andrew Leipus, who accompanied Harbhajan to Trinidad for the scan, said, "Though Bhajji (Harbhajan) feels very confident about his shoulder, I still need to have an examination done and only then would I be in a position to declare him fit for the Test." Leipus will thus have a thorough examination done on Harbhajan on the eve of the first Test on Wednesday, which would include bowling and throwing. "Though his feeling confident about it is very encouraging, we must remember he is a national treasure and we can't afford to take any chances on his fitness," Leipus said. Harbhajan took four for 37 in the first innings of the match against the Guyanese Board President's XI which India won by nine wickets.
"There have been experiences in the past where if adequate precautions had been taken, a few injuries could have been handled well in time. If Kumble's shoulder injury had been diagnosed early, he wouldn't have had to miss a year of cricket. Similar is the case with Rahul Dravid's shoulder," Leipus said.