'Two days left to get in shape for IPL'
Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday brushed aside reports saying he was doubtful for the opening Mumbai Indians IPL tie against Bangalore Royal Challengers.
He said there were two more days left for him to get into shape to lead his team at the Wankhede Stadium here.
"I am following the fitness regime given to me by the physio. There are two more days for the match. No decision has been taken as yet (whether he will play or not). It will be decided before the 20th," said the champion batsman at the team launch.
Tendulkar has not played any competitive cricket since being ruled out of the last two Test matches against South Africa after aggravating an old groin injury. He could not take part in the Olympic Torch relay event in New Delhi for the same reason.
Tendulkar said surprise was the key element in Twenty20 matches.
"The key factor in Twenty20 (matches) is introduction of surprise element and we will have quite a few of these planned (for our rivals)," he said.
The 27 players, barring the absent Lasith Malinga and Loots Bosman, and support staff, were applied "tilak" mixed with mud from Tendulkar's nursery Shivaji Park ground in Dadar.
Tendulkar turned nostalgic and said he could never forget Shivaji Park and the way he had been taken around the ground and other places on a scooter by boyhood mentor Ramakant Achrekar.
Achrekar was specially present on the occasion to apply 'tilak' on the forehead of all Mumbai Indians players.
"I have grown up in that area and can never forget those days. I used to be taken around by Sir (Achrekar) on his scooter for playing matches. I would not have reached where I am without those happenings," he said.
Tendulkar, who skipped last year's World Twenty20 Championship won by India, said he had limited experience of playing the shortest form of the game when representing Mumbai last year in domestic cricket.
"I have played a few Twenty20 games for Mumbai last year and I enjoyed it. It's a great challenge and I am looking forward to it," he said.
"Shaun (Pollock) has already started giving tips to the young fast bowlers of our team. I am not sure how the wickets and conditions will be as the matches would start at 8 pm.
"I don't know how much dew will be there. We will have a few practice sessions to see how the conditions are," he added.
Team coach Lalchand Rajput announced that off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has been appointed vice-captain of the team.
Also present at the official launch of the squad was guest of honour Sunil Gavaskar and Nita Ambani, wife of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, the franchise owner of the team.