Injury woes for Indians

No major casualties, but plenty of niggles

Sachin Tendulkar offers a sympathetic word and a warm rub after Gautam Gambhir was pinged on his head by Munaf Patel at nets on Saturday. AFP

Virender Sehwag was ruled out of the World T20 with a shoulder injury and was joined on the sidelines for the Champions Trophy by Yuvraj Singh, who hurt his finger during practice even before India’s campaign began.

A similar situation seemed to threaten India’s prospects in the seven-match series against Australia beginning here on Sunday. During Friday’s practice session, Sehwag was hit on his ribs by an Ishant Sharma delivery which left the batsman wincing in pain for some time.

Though the right-hander continued to bat, he didn’t return to nets for a long time after finishing his batting stint. It was only after he rejoined his team-mates at practice and spent some more time facing throw-downs that doubts about the extent of damage were cleared.

Soon after, MS Dhoni was hit on the back of his left knee by Munaf Patel. This injury appeared more serious as the skipper limped off to the dressing room in visible pain. Later, he returned to the practice area with his left knee heavily strapped, and didn’t participate in practice any further, raising concerns about his fitness.   

His complete and intense participation in Saturday’s optional practice session – Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh opted to skip the routine – showed that Dhoni’s injury wasn’t serious either. “It’s a lot better today, I did everything at the nets today,” said Dhoni later.

After Friday’s jolts, Gautam Gambhir was nastily hit on the back of his head on Saturday again off a Munaf delivery, giving rise to questions if there was something wrong with the practoce pitch. Though Dhoni said it was part and parcel of the game, he was quick to add, “If it happens too many times in the same span, you can say you are a bit unlucky.”
While emphasising that most players were fit and a few others had some niggles, Dhoni observed, “If somebody gets hit while batting or fielding, you can’t do much because the practice sessions are so intense right now that you try to give your best.”

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