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Walking wounded

cricket Updated: Apr 20, 2008 04:02 IST
G Krishnan
G Krishnan
Hindustan Times
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Rahul Dravid’s Bangalore were made to look silly in their opening encounter against Kolkata, with the ball flying all over the Chinnaswamy Stadium from Brendon McCullum’s bat and being crushed royally by Sourav Ganguly’s team. But they have to bury the nightmare and look at bouncing back as quick as possible.

Happy to come out of the first-game blues, the Bangalore squad, still without Anil Kumble and Dale Steyn, but strengthened by West Indies’ ugly-looking but effective batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, arrived in Mumbai on Saturday afternoon a confident lot.

The visitors looked convinced that they do have the wherewithal to open their account against Mumbai on Sunday night at the Wankhede stadium.

The Mumbai team was still unsure of their icon Sachin Tendulkar’s recovery from groin injury. “I will wait and see until tomorrow (Sunday), when the physio will assess my injury. If I am ready, I will play. If not, I will wait,” Tendulkar said on the match eve.

If Tendulkar is unavailable, his deputy Harbhajan Singh will take over the reins, ahead of the senior and experienced ex-national captains, Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka and South African Shaun Pollock.

Pollock might have had a point in saying that an Indian should lead the side as neither he nor Jayasuriya have thorough knowledge of the domestic players. But Tendulkar backed Harbhajan’s appointment as his deputy.

“If Bhajji was named vice-captain, it does not mean that others in the team will not share their thoughts,” Tendulkar said. “We all are open to ideas. We have the options but it is I or Bhajji who will take the final call. The inputs of others will be better for the team.”

Tendulkar has 25 other members in his army of Blues, and except for their latest signing, Dwayne Bravo in place of Lasith Malinga, they have all their players available for the entire tournament, a cushion that Dravid does not have.

“That is the advantage we have,” Tendulkar said. “We have good players and they give us maximum options.”

Tendulkar has also told his players not to get overwhelmed by the crowd support and to enjoy the atmosphere while at the same time keeping in mind the rich cricketing culture that Mumbai is associated with.

On the other hand, Dravid said that his team cannot be written off after Friday’s crash. “There is a lot of cricket to be played in the tournament. “We will get stronger and stronger as the tournament goes along. We have to keep looking at striking the right balance and with the return of Anil and Dale (Steyn) in the later stages of the competition, we will have a stronger bowling attack,” Dravid added.