Sachin targeting Feb 22 Duleep Trophy tie

Published: Tuesday, February 8, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sachin Tendulkar is targeting the February 22-25 Duleep Trophy match at Meerut to make his return to competitive cricket following an injury lay-off, Indian coach John Wright said in Mumbai on Tuesday.

"I spoke to him today and he sounded good, optimistic. He's just started exercising. (New physio) John Gloster is going to have a look at him tomorrow. Hopefully he's targeting the (Duleep) Trophy match on the 22nd between West and South Zones. We are optimistic," Wright told reporters.

"He had a few problems with his elbow in Bangladesh in December and was later advised rest. I am sure when it comes to the series (against Pakistan) he will be raring to go," he said adding, "We are keeping our fingers crossed."

Tendulakar, missed the Holland tri-series, the Natwest series, the ICC Champions Trophy and the first two home Tests against Australia in 2004 due to tennis elbow. He made his comeback in the third Test against the Aussies at Nagpur, played the fourth in Mumbai and the two-Test series against South Africa before touring Bangladesh.

Tendulkar had told reporters earlier he has not lifted the bat after December 27, the fifth and final ODI against Bangladesh.

On the groin injury scare to key pace man Irfan Pathan, which forced the Baroda youngster to drop out of the India seniors eleven yesterday and ruled him out of the N K P Salve Challenger series, Wright said it was nothing serious.

"We felt he needs to bowl more in the nets and become 100 per cent before playing in the matches. We are optimistic he would be ready in time for the Trophy game on the 15th (West v North)," Wright explained.

"Like Balaji, who had bowled three weeks in the nets before playing here, Irfan needs to bowl more. We thought it better to err on the side of caution. He will be here for the next 4-5 days working with (physio) John," he said.

Wright also said that Harbhajan Singh would be departing for Australia in the next few days to undergo corrective measures to his bowling action which has come under scrutiny of the International Cricket Council.

"I had a talk today with (Australian bowling coach) Daryl Foster, who is on the assessment team. We are logging in details of Harbhajan's action (through computers). We are very optimistic," Wright said.

Harbhajan has already started working on his action with former India bowlers Javagal Srinath, Ravi Shastri and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan.

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