Come Friday, and the drama surrounding Gautam Gambhir's availability will come to an end. The left-handed batsman, who aggravated injuries to his right shoulder and groin during the Indian Premier League, is set to miss the West Indies tour, thus leaving India without their top-three batsmen for the one-day series.
Gambhir, who was named captain for the lone Twenty20 international and five ODIs, is being assessed by the team's physiotherapist Nitin Patel.
"A media release will be issued after Mr Gambhir's fitness has been assessed by the Indian team's physiotherapist," N Srinivasan, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, said in a statement on Thursday.
Though the statement didn't specify when the decision on Gambhir's fitness would be finalised, a BCCI source confirmed to HT that the decision will be taken "tomorrow (Friday)".
"It would be better for him to rest for around a month now than to aggravate the injuries further and miss at least four months of cricket," he said.
In a fitness assessment, emailed to Srinivasan by the Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday, KKR physiotherapist Andrew Leipus had suggested four-to-six weeks rest for Gambhir. Leipus, who advised that Gambhir should "avoid throwing and batting for four-to-six weeks", suggested that his rehab be timed simultaneously.
"Perhaps, both the groin and shoulder can be rehabilitated over the same period," Leipus wrote in his fitness report. "Both of Gautam's injuries are chronic and ideally require time away from the stresses of international cricket in order for them to settle and rehabilitate properly. I emphasise, however, that such rehabilitation is active and not simply rest. In this regard, he would require almost daily professional supervision in order to provide both hands-on manual treatment in addition to the rehabilitation programme."
This has again brought to the fore, the issue of players preferring franchise over international cricket. However, the BCCI source quashed the theory that Gambhir suffered the shoulder injury during the IPL.
"Leipus' report makes it clear that Gambhir suffered the injury during the World Cup final," he said. "Moreover, you will not find any cricketer injury-free in today's day and age."
As a result, the question of the BCCI initiating action against either the player or the IPL franchise was put to rest. However, a section of the Board feels that a player should raise his hand if he is not match-fit so that such an embarrassment can be avoided.
Tiwary, Rayudu back in focus
Gambhir's possible absence would not only present an opportunity to Suresh Raina to lead the ODI side for the second time, it will also open the doors for either Manoj Tiwary or Ambati Rayudu's inclusion in the squad.
While Tiwary made his solitary international appearance in February 2008, Rayudu has never been included in the India squad.