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Praveen injury, a window of opportunity for Sreesanth?

Devendra Pandey

Posted: Feb 02, 2011 at 1056 hrs IST

Mumbai: Even as preparations for the World Cup enter the final stretch for most teams, Indian worries have an added concern. Injured pacer Praveen Kumar, named in the final squad of 15, may well have to sit out of the quadrennial event with murmurs within the BCCI steadily gaining momentum that the swing bowler is yet to completely recover from his elbow problem. The Uttar Pradesh seamer, who was undergoing treatment at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, will now be heading to England for further treatment, a board official confirmed.

“Based on the medical reports from England, we will decide whether to pick him or to ask for a replacement,” a top BCCI official confirmed, even though the BCCI has not yet given any request for a likely replacement required. The Board has also not yet informed the national selection committee about the issue and a final call on Praveen Kumar’s availability will be taken only after assessing reports from England. But should the need arise if Praveen fails to recover completely, a selector said they had one ready.

And the lucky player is likely to be Kerala speedster Sreesanth, brightening his chances of making the cut for his second World Cup. “Praveen Kumar hasn’t received an England visa yet but will be getting it soon. His elbow has not completely healed, and we don’t want any problem to occur when the team starts playing its league games. So far, it is unclear whether he will be part of the team for the World Cup,” the BCCI official admitted.

However, senior players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar too missed the one-day series against South Africa after being injured and have had no match practice to prove their fitness but there are no doubts on their recovery or availability for the World Cup.

Praveen Kumar was sent back midway through the recent one-day series in South Africa and was advised rest before starting his preparation. The confident Uttar Pradesh seamer had believed then that he would be bowling soon and that things were going pretty fine. “I’m happy to be a part of the World Cup, it’s a real honour for me to be part of the great team which will play at home. It was always a dream to play the WC, and I’m desperately waiting for it. So far, I’m feeling pretty good and hope to get fit on time,” Praveen had told The Indian Express a few days ago.

Meanwhile, the Indian team will have a three-day camp at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium from February 9. Coach Gary Kirsten had requested for a small training session before India takes on Australia in the first warm-up game, to be held in Bangalore, on February 13.

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