Fit-again Tendulkar set to play for India again

Published: Tuesday, July 18, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:India's star batsman Sachin Tendulkar is set to return to international cricket in August after a four-month absence due to shoulder surgery, an official said.

"The report we have got from our physiotherapist John Gloster is that Sachin is fit to play," Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah told AFP on Tuesday. "He is available for selection again."

The 33-year-old will not undergo a formal fitness test, which had been scheduled for Wednesday in Mumbai, to make himself available for a limited-overs tri-series in Sri Lanka next month also featuring South Africa.

"There is no need for the fitness test any more," said Shah. "He has been cleared to play by the physiotherapist."

The Indian team for the August 14-29 tri-series will be selected in Mumbai on Thursday.

Tendulkar, who underwent surgery in April, was forced to skip seven One-dayers at home against England and was ruled out of the recent tour of the West Indies.

India badly missed the services of the frontline batsman in the Caribbean, where they lost the One-dayers 4-1 and drew the first three Tests but won the fourth to take the series 1-0.

Tendulkar, one of the game's finest batsmen, has scored a world record 35 Test and 39 One-day centuries.

He is is the fourth-highest scorer in Test cricket with 10,469 runs in 132 matches, behind only West Indian skipper Brian Lara and Australians Allan Border and Steve Waugh.

Tendulkar is also the world's leading One-day batsman with 14,146 runs in 362 matches, but an international career spanning 16 years has taken a toll on his body.

He has been plagued with numerous injuries in recent times including a tennis elbow that also required surgery two years ago.

Tendulkar said last week the shoulder injury was "the biggest of all I have had."

"It has been tough and taken a long time to fix it and get back into action," he said.

Tendulkar played for English celebrity club Lashings earlier this month to test his recovery and scored four centuries in five matches to show he was match-fit.

In a recent interview he described his latest battle with fitness as the "greatest test of character" but added he was determined to win.

"If you are unlucky, you will get injured even if you are the fittest guy in the world. What I don't want to lose is the desire to get back in action and the hunger to go out there and perform," he said.

India need Tendulkar in prime form for the World Cup in the Caribbean in March-April next year, but a lot of cricket remains to be played before that.

After the tri-series in Sri Lanka, India will take part in the International Cricket Council's Champions Trophy at home in October-November before touring South Africa at the end of the year for three Tests and five One-dayers.

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