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Kaif replaces injured Sachin

Mohd Kaif has been included in the side in place of Tendulkar for the crucial second Test, which will be played from April 3, reports Amol Karhadkar.

cricket Updated: Mar 31, 2008 16:47 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Doubts were raised over Sachin Tendulkar's fitness ahead of the Test series against South Africa. And on the last day of the first Test, it was made official that Tendulkar's right groin injury had "re-aggravated" and he had been replaced by Mohammad Kaif for the second Test in Ahmedabad.

"Because of Tendulkar's re-aggravation of the right groin injury while fielding on the fourth day, he is doubtful for the second Test," BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah said in a press release on Sunday evening. "(The) selection committee has decided to replace Tendulkar with Kaif."

Tendulkar was off the field frequently during the first session of the final day and did not come out after lunch. Captain Anil Kumble said in the post-match conference that he hoped Tendulkar "should be okay".

"Sachin picked up a slight groin strain that got a bit aggravated. He also got an upset tummy. We are hopeful that he should be okay," Kumble said.

Interestingly, Tendulkar was the only player who did not undergo a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy. The then-team John Gloster had stated in his final fitness report at the end of the Australian tour that Tendulkar was not
going to be fit for the South Africa series. However, the maestro announced in a media conference a day after Gloster's report was leaked that he was "100 per cent" fit and his word was taken.

Tendulkar's injury has resulted in a recall for Kaif, who has been a prolific scorer on the domestic circuit. Kaif, who played a Test for India in June 2006, has scored 993 runs at 59.41 apiece in 13 first-class matches this season.

Kumble doubtful
Shah in his press release also said that a decision on Kumble's fitness would be taken on Wednesday, the eve of the second Test. Just like Tendulkar, Kumble did not take the field after lunch on Sunday. "I had a slight niggle while I was bowling," the skipper said.