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Praveen elbowed out

India's preparation for the World Cup suffered a major blow on Monday when medium pacer Praveen Kumar was ruled out of the tournament that begins on February 19. Amol Karhadkar reports.

cricket Updated: Feb 08, 2011 00:53 IST
Amol Karhadkar

India's preparation for the World Cup suffered a major blow on Monday when medium pacer Praveen Kumar was ruled out of the tournament that begins on February 19.

Sreesanth is likely to replace him in the squad, though there was no official word from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The Board will now have to apply for a replacement to the International Cricket Council's technical committee but an ICC spokesperson told Hindustan Times that it was a mere formality.

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Praveen has been a regular member of the playing XI under Mahendra Singh Dhoni for over two years now and the Indian skipper always had always shown faith in the medium pacer during crunch situations.

The 24-year-old underwent a fitness test at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore on Monday and sources said there was no chance that the player would be match-fit by the time India plays their opening game against Bangaldesh in Mirpur on February 19.

Praveen had returned to India after sustaining an elbow injury during India's Twenty20 game against South Africa. Dhoni had then said that the player was being sent back to avoid any further risk to his bowling arm ahead of the World Cup.

However, Praveen's recovery process turned out to be slower than expected and the medium pacer even visited London-based surgeon Dr Andrew Wallace, who had also treated the likes of Sachin Tendulkar in the past.

After returning from South Africa, Kumar underwent a long rehabilitation process at the NCA. He had even started batting and bowling and had nets in Meerut on the eve of leaving for London last week. But, according to sources the London specialists did not give him an all clear and the Indian medical staff did not want to take any chance for an event like the World Cup.

It is the second time for the 24-year-old bowler to miss a mega event in his three-year-old international cricket career as in May 2010, he was ruled out of the Twenty20 World Cup due to a side strain after playing only two matches.

While Praveen has been ruled out, India is still awaiting the fitness report of Gautam Gambhir (hand) and Virendra Sehwag (shoulder), who also returned from South Africa along with Tendulkar. The Mumbai batsman, who had suffered a hamstring injury in South Africa, has started training and showed no sign of the injury during his practice sessions at the Mumbai Cricket Association's Bandra Kurla complex facility.