Officials still unsure about Sachin~~s fitness

Published: Wednesday, May 10, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:India's star batsman Sachin Tendulkar resumed training following shoulder surgery, but officials are unsure if he will be fit for the Test series in the West Indies in June.

The 33-year-old faced a cricket ball for 25 minutes at the nets on Wednesday after a tennis-ball session on Tuesday in front of national coach Greg Chappell and other team officials.

Tendulkar batted for five minutes, took a break and then had a cricket ball thrown to him for 20 minutes at the Bandra-Kurla complex ground of the Mumbai Cricket Association, the Indian cricket board said in a statement.

Cricket Board secretary Niranjan Shah said "both Sachin and (team physiotherapist) John Gloster were happy with the outcome of his first outing".

"The return to batting is a graded process to allow for adaptation to the new loads involved, and his tolerance to all new demands placed on him physically to this point have been satisfactory," Shah said.India Vs West Indies "The review process for Sachin is an ongoing one and the decision regarding his availability will be taken soon once Gloster, Sachin, the surgeon and other affiliated parties are confident of his recovery."

Tendulkar, who underwent shoulder surgery in March, missed the seven one-dayers at home against England and also opted out of the five matches against the West Indies starting next week.

He will undergo a fitness test in Mumbai on May 20, three days before the selectors meet to pick the squad for the four Test matches that begin on June 2.

"It is difficult to predict if Sachin will be available for the Tests," said chairman of selectors Kiran More.

"We are getting regular reports on his progress and it looks as if he is coming on well. But he will be picked only if he is 100 per cent fit."

Tendulkar is one of the most prolific batsmen in contemporary cricket with a world record 35 Test and 39 One-day centuries.

His 10,469 Test runs put him in fourth place behind West Indian captain Brian Lara and Australians Allan Border and Steve Waugh in the all-time scorers' list.

Tendulkar is also the world's leading one-day batsman, with 14,146 runs in 362 matches.

But a career spanning 16 years has begun to take its toll with a spate of injuries in recent times, the most notable being a tennis elbow problem two years ago that also required surgery.

The recent dip in form -- he averaged just over 20 in his last 11 Tests -- and the injuries raised fears Tendulkar's career may be coming to an end.

Despite his troubles, the hugely popular Tendulkar last week signed a marketing deal with international advertising major Saatchi and Saatchi reportedly worth 40 million dollars over the next three years.

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