Sachin Tendulkar will celebrate his 37th birthday on Saturday. But more than the celebrations, the Mumbai Indians’ skipper will be contemplating on whether to lead his team in their maiden IPL final on Sunday despite injuring his right hand.
Tendulkar picked up the injury while fielding during Wednesday's semifinal against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. In the fourth over of RCB's chase, Rahul Dravid edged Zaheer Khan and Tendulkar claimed a difficult catch diving forward. Replays showed a part of the ball had touched the ground when Tendulkar clasped it. As a result, Dravid was ruled not out.
Even before the third umpire gave his verdict, Tendulkar had returned to the dressing room with a bleeding right hand. The little master did not take the field and during the post-match presentation said he had "five stitches to his hand" due to a "split webbing."
It was learnt on Thursday that Tendulkar would be a doubtful starter for the final since the stitches usually take a week to dissolve. Tendulkar's participation will depend on whether he he can hold the bat properly.
Vice-captain Zaheer Khan, who took charge for the remaining 16 overs, said the team would take a call on the injury after two days.
"I did not get a chance to talk to Sachin in the dressing room because everyone was celebrating but (coach) Robin (Singh) said the injury needed five stitches and a call would be taken on his playing (in the final) in two days' time," Zaheer said at the post-match media conference.
Don't be surprised if the decision on Tendulkar's fitness is taken minutes before the toss on Sunday. Till then, the Mumbai Indians and their die-hard fans will have their fingers crossed.