India sweat over Kumble, Ishant injuries ahead of second Test

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Ahmedabad, Apr 2 (UNI) The Indians, with only one day to go before the second Test against South Africa at the Sardar Patel stadium, Motera, here, are still in the dark about whether their captain Anil Kumble will be able to recover from his groin strain in time for the match.

Experienced leg-spinner Kumble, the third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, suffered a groin strain in the drawn first Test last week and did not take the field in the final two sessions.

''We just have to wait. We'll take a final call tomorrow morning,'' Kumble told a news conference when quizzed about his fitness here today.

India will definitely be without talismanic batsman Sachin Tendulkar because of a groin injury, while left-arm seamer Rudra Pratap Singh went wicket-less and looked way below his best on his return from injury.

The other injury problem plaguing India is that of pace prospect Ishant Sharma. The tall and lanky Delhi pacer, who impressed during the Australia tour, has been rendered ineffective following a foot injury and though he had a long stint in the nets it still remains to be seen whether he will recover in time for the second Test.

Meanwhile, Kumble told reporters that V V S Laxman will be pushed up the order and is likely to bat at number 4 from his usual position of number six to be able to counter the South African pace attack in the absence of Tendulkar.

''He will certainly come up the order,'' Kumble said.

Answering a query on Sehwag likely to receive chin music on the Motera track which has some grass on it as South African coach Micky Arthur said yesterday, Kumble said ''I think he's (Sehwag) a good enough batsman to handle that. He scored 319 in the last innings and is capable of handling whatever comes his way.'' A decision on the Indian starting line-up had been delayed due to the injury concerns, Kumble said.

He however said that inspite all the injury problems they have enough potential and quality to do the job. ''We have worked out some plans to ensure that we put pressure on the South Africans and get the right result.'' UNI GS AB DS1647

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