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Mandeep Singh hoping to be match fit before India A’s South Africa tour

Mandeep Singh, who will be travelling to South Africa as part of the India A side, is currently at the National Cricket Academy in a bid to regain full match fitness.

cricket Updated: Jul 10, 2017 15:36 IST
Shalini Gupta
Mandeep Singh, who endured a poor IPL season with Royal Challengers Bangalore, is now looking to regain match fitness before India A’s tour of South Africa.
Mandeep Singh, who endured a poor IPL season with Royal Challengers Bangalore, is now looking to regain match fitness before India A’s tour of South Africa. (Sportzpics )

Mandeep Singh is at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore to regain match fitness ahead of the India ‘A’ tour to South Africa for a bilateral ODI series from July 26.

The 25-year-old batsman is part of the Manish Pandey-led India A side that will travel to South Africa. The series was initially a triangular one, involving South Africa and Australia. However, Australia pulled out of the series due to contract disputes with Cricket Australia.

Mandeep Singh will board the plane to South Africa after clearing a fitness test. He is currently undergoing rehab with renowned physiotherapist Andrew Leipus.

Towards the end of IPL 10, Mandeep experienced pain in his back. Surgery was initially suggested but instead he went to the NCA to recover. “It has been six weeks at the NCA. India team physiotherapist Patrick Farhat felt surgery could be avoided and the back could be treated with rest and strengthening.

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“When the India ‘A’ team was to be announced, Andrew Leipus saw improvement in my condition and gave the selectors the go ahead for my selection. He feels I will regain fitness in time,” said Mandeep, who had a poor IPL campaign.

Not only did Royal Challengers Bangalore finish at the bottom of the table, Mandeep Singh failed to fire with the bat. Known as an attacking stroke-maker, he had just two significant knocks of 46 and 52 in the tournament. Soon after, he was diagnosed with a prolapsed disc.

“The word surgery rang alarm bells. I was already upset with the IPL performance and the niggling pain in the back made me more upset. I never felt so low in my career. I underwent a mid-career crisis in a way. When I came to the NCA, I was told the back could be treated with rest and strengthening. Knowing this, my motivation came back,” said Mandeep, who made his T20 debut for India against Zimbabwe in 2016 and has 64 first-class matches and 4018 runs under his belt.

Leipus is working closely with Mandeep Singh. He will be assessing his improvement and conducting the fitness test before clearing for the South Africa series.

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“I can feel improvement and have started running. If I clear the test and be match fit, it would be wonderful to go with the India ‘A’ team,” said Mandeep.