Relief could be around the corner for Harbhajan Singh, who missed the third Test against Australia at Delhi after failing to recover from a toe injury. The offspinner, who has enjoyed tremendous success against the Australians, could well be back in the team for the final Test, which starts in Nagpur on November 6, after the Board of Control for Cricket in India sought and obtained a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) certificate to administer a steroid that could give him significant relief. The team is keen to have Harbhajan back in the mix at the earliest and things moved quickly on Thursday to make this possible.
“This is defeinitely good news for us,” a team source told the HT. “We believe this medication can give him full and instant relief.”
Detailed investigations, including an MRI and a CT scan, confirmed the injury to Harbhajan’s left foot (metatarsophalangeal joint problem). Nitin Patel, the team physiotherapist, in consultation with other specialists, reached the conclusion that the best method of treatment would be a steroid injection.
The drug that medical specialists wanted to administer was a single dose injection of Depo-Medrol. Since this contains the substance Methylprednisolone Acetate, which falls in the categories of steroids banned under the World Anti Doping Agency guidelines that the ICC has adopted, doctors could not administer the drug without appropriate permission. The Indian board on Thursday wrote to the ICC's anti-doping agency requesting a TUE certificate. The matter was dealt with on an urgent basis and this certificate has already been issued. Harbhajan has been told to keep a copy of this certificate with him.
Depo-Medrol is in the class of medicines known as glucocorticoid or corticosteroid, and is used to reduce inflammation in joints. Although there is no concensus in the scientific community on just how this drug works, it is believed to suppress the production of certain cells and chemicals by the body when a joint is inflamed. Depo-Medrol is typically used in the treatment of sports injuries but is also used to provide relief to patients suffering from Osteo Arthritis.