India cautious about Sachin, yet to name team

Published: Friday, December 27, 2002, 20:28 [IST]
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Napier: India has delayed making a final decision on whether to include batting star Sachin Tendulkar in its team for Sunday's second One-day International against New Zealand.

The master batsman missed the day-night game at Auckland on Thursday due to an ankle injury sustained while bowling in the nets on the match-eve. "The final decision on Tendulkar will only be taken tomorrow (Saturday)," said Indian team manager Nathu Ram Chaudhary. "He is improving, but we don't want to take any chances before the World Cup (starting in South Africa next February). That's the main reason we are taking a very cautious approach," said Chaudhary. Encouraging news for India was that all-rounder Sanjay Bangar (knee) and off spinner Harbhajan Singh (hand) regained fitness ahead of the second match. "Both of them are fit," said Chaudhary. The trio's absence severely affected India's chances in the opening game on the portable Eden Park wicket as the tourists were bundled out for their lowest total of 108 against New Zealand in 62 One-dayers. The hosts won the match by three wickets to gain a 1-0 lead in the seven-match series. The Indian manager said opener Shiv Das had left for home and seamer Rakesh Patel joined the squad for the remaining One-dayers. Das was included in the team for the Auckland game at the 11th hour following injuries to the three key players. He turned out to be the top-scorer of the low-scoring match with 30 on a drop-in pitch, later criticised by rival skippers Stephen Fleming of New Zealand and Saurav Ganguly of India. The pitch here promises to be friendlier to batsmen than the ones provided for two Tests at Wellington and Hamilton and the One-dayer at Auckland. New Zealand won both the Tests inside three days to complete a clean sweep. It was here that India had crossed the 200-mark for the only time on its current tour, against Central Districts in a three-day game early this month. "It'll bounce, but it's looking good," Central Districts official Blair Furlong was quoted as saying in a local daily on Friday. Curator Phil Stoyanoff, however, was non-committal, saying he never made predictions and it was up to the players (to score runs). "It's 80 per cent brown and 20 per cent green on top now, " he said.

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