Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh and Ishant Sharma could be out of India’s first Test against South Africa starting in Chennai on March 26. All three had sustained injuries during India’s recent tour of Australia, and have been asked to report at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore before Monday, March 17.
“I cannot say that they are ruled out, but just to be on the safe side we have asked Yuvraj, Harbhajan and Ishant to proceed to Bangalore for a fitness test,” a top Board of Control for Cricket in India official told the Hindustan Times. “Only after that we can say anything about whether they will take part in the South Africa series.”
The NCA, which now has a full-time staff to work with fitness, training and injury management in Paul Chapman and Paul Close, will conduct tests on the trio on Monday morning. The national selection committee, headed by Dilip Vengsarkar, is scheduled to meet in Bangalore on Monday evening, and it will take a decision on the squad for the first Test based on the reports it receives from the staff at the NCA.
Ishant, the rage around the nation at the moment, is suffering from a problem in the big toe of his landing foot and was advised complete rest for three weeks by John Gloster, the Indian physiotherapist, in his report to the Indian board at the end of the Australia tour. Additionally, Ishant was also suffering from acute tendon sheath inflammation on the right forefinger and was being treated for the same.
Yuvraj, who has been suffering from a knee problem ever since his infamous freak accident during a pre-training game of kho-kho in October 2006, was instructed to follow strengthening activity without high impact. In other words, he was told to take a break from cricket for at least two weeks and undergo x-training that involved, cycling, swimming and water running.
Harbhajan, who only on Saturday told television channels he was fully fit, was also told strictly to take rest for a fortnight as he was suffering from a problem with his left hamstring tendon (enthesopathy) and asked to avoid walking up inclines or running long distances. While none of these injuries are at a critical stage at the moment, Gloster stressed on the need for proper management of these injuries.