I've to be careful playing with my kids: Sachin

Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:India's star batsman Sachin Tendulkar was left praying for a miracle as a serious tennis elbow injury threatened to rule him out of next month's home series against world champions Australia.

"I really want to play. I am hoping and praying that I am fit for the series," Tendulkar said on his return from England after undergoing extensive treatment for the injury that has forced him out of the national team this season. It is important to be in good shape for that challenge."

With the four-Test series against Ricky Ponting's men two weeks away, Tendulkar was racing against time to be fit for one of the most eagerly-awaited contests in Indian cricket.The recovery on the left hand has been slow, but positive, according to sports medicine expert Anant Joshi who has treated the 31-year-old in the past. But it was evident Tendulkar was still in no condition to resume training.

"Any untoward movement of the wrist or elbow will be a setback," Joshi said. "I have asked him not to drive his car and lift anything." Tendulkar, who has already missed three limited-overs tournaments including the Champions Trophy in England, was not taking chances.

"I am pretty conscious of what I do with my left hand," he said. "I have to be careful even while playing with my kids. "I have to guard against even remote aggravation."

The absence of Tendulkar, one-day cricket's premier batsman with a record 13,415 runs and 37 centuries, has left India in shambles. India failed to make the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy after losing two earlier series in the Netherlands and England without their champion player.

"It has been frustrating to watch from outside," Tendulkar said. "But injuries are part of a sportsman's lot." Tendulkar, who will not play for his state team Mumbai in the three-day match against the tourists at Bombay from September 30, is almost certain to miss the first Test at Bangalore from October 6.

Whether Tendulkar will be available for the remaining three Tests will be known after further sessions with the national team's physiotherapist Andrew Leipus.

Tendulkar's absence, even for one Test, will be a blow to India who are aiming to win their third consecutive home series against Australia after 2-1 successes in 1998 and 2001. In seven home Tests against Australia, Tendulkar has scored 760 runs at an average of 63. Overall he is the fifth highest scorer in Test cricket with 9,470 runs in 114 matches at 57.39.Tendulkar, who made his Test debut in 1989, has missed only one Test series in his 15-year career when a leg injury forced him to sit out the Sri Lanka tour in 2001.

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