Doctors are supposed to be neutral but London-based Andrew Wallace cannot help taking sides. He has more than a passing interest in the fortunes of the Indian team; after all, he has treated many in the side.
He is the man who repairs the shoulders and elbows of the Indian stars. His association with the team started with none other than Sachin Tendulkar — he operated and mended the famous elbow in 2004.
He operated on Praveen Kumar's elbow early this year and then on Virender Sehwag's shoulder.
“As an Australian working here, even though I have treated some England players, I have strong interest in seeing India do well. It was tough to see the results in the Test series,” said Wallace, who was at Lord's to watch the fourth ODI on Sunday.
“The other Indian connection is that my wife's from Kerala, from the backwaters of Kottayam. We had our wedding there in 2006," he added.
The advantage of being the doctor who treated Tendulkar helped when he asked for the hand of his Indian girlfriend, Suzzane Alexandra.
“Through treating Tendulkar, I have come to know him as a friend and it was very helpful when I asked my father-in-law for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Could he say no to the doctor who treated Sachin?” chuckled Wallace. Suzzane is also a surgeon and assists her husband.
Robin Uthappa and Manoj Tiwary have also been operated by him while Rahul Dravid and S Sreesanth have consulted him.
Wallace operated on Sehwag in May and his shoulder is still being debated. “The surgery was a revision procedure. And in a revision operation, recovery is slower and the issues are more complex. But things are moving in the right direction.”
Sehwag returned for the Tests, but skipped the ODIs as he found throwing a problem. “His shoulder is in a very good shape structurally. But throwing is a very complex task and demands an enormous amount from the tissues. It’s just that he needs a little extra time.”
He may be famous as the doctor of Tendulkar and Sehwag but Sreesanth, due to his Kerala connection, is equally popular with the Wallace family. “He is from my wife’s home state and when we meet we always talk about Kerala.”
Tendulkar and Sehwag have shown their appreciation with the best gift they can give — their bats. “They have very kindly signed cricket bats for me, which occupy a pride of place in my house,” Wallace said.