After the 4-0 drubbing in England, the BCCI bigwigs said the most pressing objective was to improve India’s injury management system. During the tour, journalists gushed over the system in place in England, which apparently watches its players like hawks and mandates everything they can do and eat and sing and dance (etc.) to keep them match-fit. So, how close are we to that ideal? Let’s take a look at the recent announcement that Praveen Kumar will not make it to Australia:
According to the original BCCI media release sent on Monday evening, Praveen had been ruled out only for the first three ODIs of the West Indies series. This came after Virender Sehwag, the stand-in India captain, had said on the eve of the Cuttack ODI that Praveen would be available for the second match on December 3 as he was suffering from “a niggle”.
It is understood the selectors were not aware of Praveen’s original injury when they had picked him in the squads for the two series. “On the day of the selection, if there is no adverse fitness report then you assume they are fit,” a BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo. “If you have not reported you are unfit you are assumed to be fit.” According to him the turn of events in Praveen’s case caught the selection committee completely by surprise. “The selectors only came to know a day after the Mumbai Test (which ended three days ago).”
I’ll say this much: we’ve made progress in that Praveen’s injury hasn’t come to light during the actual tour, but about one month before it. Just so people are clear about the stakes: We still aren’t sure about Zaheer Khan’s fitness, which means we could send a bowling attack to one of the biggest cricket series of the year led by Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron. Granted, Australia’s own team has been beset by injuries, but I’m still very, very worried.