Mumbai, Apr 20: After a lengthy absence in this season's IPL due to a finger injury sustained over two weeks ago, Sachin Tendulkar has raised hopes on his availability for the rest of the remaining matches as he practised for about two hours at the nets ahead of Mumbai Indians clash against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday.
Tendulkar confirmed to Mid Day that his finger is fine, "It (finger) is good now," Tendulkar told MiD DAY, as he did not seem to be any trouble facing regular bowlers of Mumbai Indians like Pragyan Ojha during a net practice session at the Mumbai Cricket Association's Bandra Kurla Complex Ground.
Tendulkar, who suffered a injury to his right index finger during the IPL opener against defending champions Chennai Super Kings on April 4, missed all four games for Mumbai Indians which affected the team's batting at the top order.
However, Tendulkar missed the games against Pune Warriors, Deccan Charges, Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils which resulted top order batting failure for Mumbai Indians who failed to get off to a good start and ended up losing two in four games.
Tendulkar received throwdowns from the video analyst on April 14 before the home game against Delhi Daredevils but did not feel fit enough to play on April 16 at the Wankhede stadium.
The Mumbai Indians suffered a humiliating defeat against the Daredevils, who bowled out Mumbai to their second-lowest total of 92, also the lowest total in this season's IPL.
Meanwhile, as Tendulkar gears up for a return to face the Kings of Punjab at home, Mumbai speedster Lasith Malinga remains uncertain as he missed practice sessions due to a sore back.
Though Malinga is set to miss yet another crucial game, Mumbai Indians would welcome Australian left-arm pacer Mitchell Johnson who would be joining the team in a few days.
"Johnson is expected to join the team (after flying in from Australia) in one or two days," said a team source.
The 30-year-old pacer, who is also useful lower down the batting order, was bought for $300,000 at the IPL 5 auction.
The Aussie pacer is yet to play a game in the cash-rich T20 league.
Mumbai Indians hope the return of Tendulkar and the availability of Johnson will boost the team.