Tendulkar ready to fire on all cylinders

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HAPPY TIDINGS: Sachin Tendulkar has been cleared to play in the tri-series in Sri Lanka.
HAPPY TIDINGS: Sachin Tendulkar has been cleared to play in the tri-series in Sri Lanka.

G. Viswanath

Tendulkar's final physical assessment was very satisfactoryHis recovery after the operation in April was slow and steadyTendulkar is likely to replace Venugopala Rao in the squad

Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar is ready for action again. On Tuesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that the longest-serving international cricketer has overcome his injury problem following a rehabilitation programme and is available for selection.

Tendulkar was operated on in London on April 27 to remove a cyst in his right shoulder and to mend a rupture of the biceps tendon.

The BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said in a press release: "Sachin Tendulkar, who has been undergoing graded physical testing of his right shoulder for the last five days under the supervision of the Indian team physio John Gloster, has made satisfactory progress to make him available for selection for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka. The final physical assessment by his surgeon (Dr. Andrew Wallace), prior to the Twenty20 match played at London, was very satisfactory.''

Delaying the decision

Though the right shoulder had been irritating Tendulkar for a long time, he decided to take a break and opt for surgical intervention only on the penultimate day of India's third and final Test against England in Mumbai.

His shoulder injury probably flared up after he notched up scores of 100 (Peshawar), 42 (Rawalpindi) and 95 (Gadaffi) against Pakistan. He was rested for the fifth and final One-Day International at Karachi.

Tendulkar has missed 14 one-dayers since the Multan ODI (he was out for zero in that match): three against Pakistan (one at Karachi and two at Abu Dhabi), six against England at home (India won 5-1) and five against the West Indies in the away series which India lost 1-4. His ODI appearances stand at 362 (14,146 runs at an average of a little over 44).

Tendulkar's recovery has been slow and steady after the operation in the last week of April, though conservative therapy and surgery helped him regain strength and provided relief from the pain.

All hopes of Tendulkar making the trip to the Caribbean for the four-Test series were dashed, with the champion batsman himself not confident. He did not take a fitness test even as Wasim Jaffer was cleared for the Test series.

Tendulkar flew to England on May 23, sought counsel from Dr. Wallace, continued the rehabilitation programme and played for Lashings World XI.

He cracked four centuries and also scored a half-century in a charity match in London that prompted India captain Rahul Dravid to say that "it was great to see Tendulkar bat with Lara and hitting the ball again.''

Whether Tendulkar was capable of a comeback he's had a painful back, toe and elbow-related ailments was being debated in cricketing circles after he decided against playing the Test series in the West Indies. But it appears that the darling of Indian cricket for 17 years, after strictly following the rehabilitation programme, is convinced that he's healthy enough now to wear the India colours again.

After recovering from a ligament-related elbow injury, Tendulkar returned to the international fold last October with two attacking innings against Sri Lanka (93 at Nagpur and 67 not out at Mohali).

He did not have as much luck in the next eight matches, before he made a century against Pakistan at Peshawar in early February.

The 33-year-old Tendulkar should now be an automatic choice for the tri-series in Sri Lanka. He is likely to replace Andhra Pradesh's Venugopala Rao, who was in the 15-member squad for the ODI series against the West Indies.

He told The Hindu that he had to do specific exercises in the swimming pool to strengthen his right shoulder operated upon in April. "But everything has gone according to the way it was planned. Every type of injury has its own rehabilitation and recovery stage. There are different types of injuries. This took a long time because of the rupture of the biceps tendon; the rehabilitation process was different. One has to take it in his stride and do it in all earnestness."

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