Injury worries test Mumbai’s focus
Ahead of their crucial match against the Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians suffered a double blow. Zaheer Khan was ruled out for the next two matches while top-order batsman Shikhar Dhawan will take no further part in the tournament, reports G Krishnan. Listen to podcast | Special coveragecricket Updated: May 06, 2009 02:47 IST
Ahead of their crucial match against the Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians suffered a double blow. Zaheer Khan was ruled out for the next two matches while top-order batsman Shikhar Dhawan will take no further part in the tournament.
Zaheer hurt his shoulder during the game against the Royal Challengers on Sunday night and Dhawan broke his finger fielding in the same match.
“We feared the worst for Zak but it is not as bad,” said team mentor Pollock on Tuesday. “He will not play tomorrow. We have taken an X-ray on Monday and he will be seeing a specialist on Tuesday. We are looking at the bigger picture, which is the Indian team and the World T20. We don’t want to rush him back before he is ready.”
Zaheer’s absence could give Dhawal Kulkarni or Rahil Shaikh a chance against the Deccan Chargers on Wednesday. “Zak missing out is a big blow for us, but that’s what a team game is all about. The others have to stand up and deliver.”
The physio, Nitin Patel, who is also with the Indian team, is constantly monitoring Zaheer’s shoulder. Dhawan’s injury is a big blow to a line-up that is heavily dependent on Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar.
“When you are losing a batsman, it is a disadvantage for the team. We have to do with whatever we have,” said Jayasuriya. “A lot of the Indian boys have been doing well.”
Does it put added pressure on the opening pair? “Expectations are high for Sachin and me to perform. We are also trying every game. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If one of us bats 15 overs, it’d be good for the team. We need consistency in batting.”
The key for the Mumbai Indians is to maintain focus and qualify for the semi-finals. “We have to calm and relaxed,” said Jayasuriya, and Pollock added, “you don’t look too far ahead. You have to take it game by game. There are seven matches left and we have to focus on each game. We have six games in 11 days from tomorrow. If you look too far ahead, you’ll lose focus.”