Chance for Sachin to test his shoulder
Tendulkar will get an opportunity to put load on his responsible shoulders when India take on WI.Updated: Sep 12, 2006 14:33 IST
The triangular cricket series beginning on Tuesday will be a crucial warm-up exercise for the India, Australia and more so for the West Indies ahead of the Champions Trophy and World Cup.
Apart from some final experiments that the three teams will do before the two important tournaments, Sachin Tendulkar will also test his right shoulder in an international match for the first time since his operation in March.
Tendulkar barely got to bat on the recent tour of Sri Lanka where South Africa's pull out due to security concerns and rains prevented a single match from being played.
Tendulkar, who has amassed 10,469 runs in 132 Tests and 14,148 runs in 363 one-day internationals, injured his shoulder during the home series against England in March and missed the tour of the West Indies in May-June among other matches.
The 33-year-old maestro will finally get a proper opportunity to put load on his responsible shoulders and see how it responds.
While Tendulkar is back, Yuvraj Singh, who has been running temperature and did not land here with the team, will miss India's first match against the West Indies on Thursday.
But the tournament begins with an Australia-West Indies encounter at the Kinrara Oval here. Brian Lara leads the West Indies while Ricky Ponting captains Australia.
India will have an opportunity to avenge the 1-4 loss to the West Indies on the tour of the Caribbean in May-June.
"Australia is the world champion and the West Indians have beaten us recently. We are determined to change that situation and settle scores with them," India captain Rahul Dravid had said on the eve of the team's departure for Malaysia.
The series will also give him an opportunity to settle scores with Australia, who defeated Sourav Ganguly's Indian side in the 2003 World Cup final in South Africa.
Although Ganguly is not in the team anymore, many of the players who suffered that defeat in Johannesburg, including Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Tendulkar, Mohammed Kaif and Harbhajan Singh are still around.
West Indies will be extra keen to use this opportunity because, quite strangely, they will have to qualify for the main leg of the Champions Trophy despite being the defending champions.
They won the Champions Trophy in England in 2002. But since they were ranked eighth as on April 1, the cut off date for determining groupings of the 10-nation tournament, West Indies will have to battle with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in the qualifiers. The top six ranked teams automatically made it to the main leg of the Champions Trophy.
The top two teams from the qualifying round will join the six in the tournament proper beginning Oct 15.
The three teams' other, bigger aim will be the World Cup in the West Indies in March-April. And this triangular series will give one of the last few chances to them to narrow down on players for the quadrennial extravaganza from March 11-April 29.
India: Rahul Dravid (captain), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Mongia, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Irfan Pathan, S. Sreesanth, Ajit Agarkar, Rudra Pratap Singh, Munaf Patel, Harbhajan Singh and Ramesh Powar
Australia: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Hussey (vice-captain), Nathan Bracken, Stuart Clark, Michael Clarke, Mark Cosgrove, Daniel Cullen, Bradley Haddin (wicket-keeper), Matthew Hayden, Brad Hogg, Philip Jacques, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson
West Indies: Brian Lara (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan (vice-captain), Carlton Baugh (wicket-keeper), Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Wavell Hinds, Runako Morton, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Ian Bradshaw, Jerome Taylor, Fidel Edwards and Corey Collymore
First Published: Sep 11, 2006 20:20 IST