Tendulkar available to play the entire duration of IPL: MI

There is nothing serious about the toe injury of Sachin Tendulkar and the Master Blaster will be available to play the entire duration of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) after returning from London where he has gone for a medical consultation for a toe injury, the Mumbai Indians (MI) franchise team spokesman said, says a report in The Times Of India.

“I can categorically say Sachin Tendulkar (captain of Mumbai Indians) is available for the entire duration of the IPL. He has gone to London just for consultation (about his toe injury) and is scheduled to be back on March 31. There is no question of any surgery,” the spokesperson said.

The MI clarification came after a source in the Cricket Board said that the return of the champion batsman, after his consultation in London with a specialist, was uncertain as even a surgery might be needed to put a question mark on his participation for the entire duration of the T20 League.

Meanwhile, with less than a week left for the IPL to begin, some of the top players have yet to report to the Delhi Daredevils’ training camp. However, that is not worrying the team led by Virender Sehwag. In fact, the team management is concentrating on its domestic stars like Manpreet Juneja, Punit Bist, Zakir Patel, Kuldeep Rawal and Sunny Gupta to get them ready for the two-month grind ahead, says a report in TOI.

Star players like Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene, England’s Kevin Pietersen and South Africa’s Morne Morkel are busy with their national teams’ commitments and will join the team later. In their absence, Daredevils will rely on Aaron Finch, Glen Maxwell, Roelof van der Merwe and Andre Russell to deliver the goods. The onus will be on Sehwag to marshal the resources in the absence of top cricketers.

Meanwhile a report in Hindustan Times says that fan response this season will show whether last year's slump was an aberration. “The negativism is so deep rooted that people are almost willing it to flop. The cynics are on a high after the lukewarm public response to last year's edition of the Indian Premier League. For them, it is a strong indicator that the multi-million dollar franchise T20 league, after all, is not such a hot property anymore,” writes the paper, adding that as the fifth edition of cricket's glam avatar prepares to roll out, its stakeholders know they have a huge challenge on their hands to revive the image of the IPL.

“Following dwindling TV audiences for the past two seasons, and after even the play-offs were greeted by empty stadiums, the jury is out on whether the IPL will remain a durable summer sport and entertainment package. The pundits will wait for this edition before passing judgement on the future of the tournament. They are keen to see if the reasons given for the lacklustre response to the last edition are genuine, after the slump was blamed on the league kicking off barely a week after the incredible high of the World Cup triumph.”