Ganguly's injury hit India's Test preparations

Published: Sunday, April 18, 2004, 19:42 [IST]
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Multan:India's preparations for the first Test against Pakistan were thrown into disarray following uncertainty over the fitness of captain Sourav Ganguly.

The tourists flew into the central Pakistani city of Multan for Sunday's first Test without Ganguly, who was forced to stay in Lahore to undergo scans on his injured back.

Ganguly hurt his lower back when he dived to stop a drive from his Pakistani counterpart Inzamam-ul Haq during Wednesday's fifth and final One-dayer in Lahore.

The scans could not be carried out on Thursday because Ganguly "was sent to a wrong doctor in Lahore," a team source said.

Ganguly and team physiotherapist Andrew Leipus, who fixed an appointment with a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)-nominated doctor for Thursday morning, found out he was the wrong man to treat the injury.

"The whole day was wasted trying to locate the right man who was a specialist in back injuries," the source said.

"One was eventually found late in the evening. Ganguly and Andrew will see him and both will join the team on Friday."

Team spokesman Amrit Mathur declined to confirm if Ganguly will be available for the first Test, saying the scans will decide the extent of the injury.

The Indian captain, who lay on the field for several minutes soon after he fell, had to be carried off in a stretcher. However, he attended the post-match ceremonies and media conference.

India won Wednesday's One-day decider by 40 runs to take the series 3-2, their first Limited Overs series win in Pakistan after five failed attempts between 1978 to 1989.

Ganguly will have just two days to recover if he is to play in the first Test. The remaining Tests will be played in Lahore from April 5-9 and Rawalpindi from April 13-17.

The Indians, meanwhile, were reinforced by seasoned bowlers Anil Kumble and Ajit Agarkar and opening batsman Akash Chopra for the Test series.

The trio, who flew in from New Delhi on Thursday afternoon, joined the rest of the team on the connecting flight to Multan.

Kumble and Agarkar, who missed the One-day series with injuries, will bolster the depleted attack already missing off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra.

"We are delighted to have the three back with us," said vice-captain Rahul Dravid. "They will have a lot to contribute in the series."

One-day specialists Mohammad Kaif, Hemang Badani and Amit Bhandari, who were not picked in the Test squad, will return home later on Thursday.

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