Praveen’s World Cup participation in doubt

Bangalore: India’s World Cup preparations appear to have received a blow with pacer Praveen Kumar looking a doubtful starter for the forthcoming event as he hasn’t fully recovered from the elbow injury sustained during the South African series last month.

The Uttar Pradesh pacer Praveen underwent a fitness test early this morning at the National Cricket Academy (NIA) here to assess his fitness but it seems the injury had not healed as fast as was expected, a BCCI source indicated.

With less than a fortnight to go for the cricket World Cup to get underway, it has been learnt that the anxious Cricket Board (BCCI) has also called discarded Kerala pacer S Sreesanth to the NCA as Praveen’s possible replacement for the quadrennial event, beginning in Dhaka on February 19.

Sreesanth took a fitness test in the afternoon at NCA, a move which is seen as a precautionary measure by the BCCI.

Praveen took the fitness test immediately on his return from England, where he had gone last week to consult Dr Andrew Wallace, a London-based surgeon who has treated many Indian players including Sachin Tendulkar, on his injured right elbow.

Though there was no official word yet from the BCCI on Praveen, the development has indicated that the fast bowler’s dream of playing in his maiden World Cup appears to be over.

The pacer had been undergoing rehabilitation at the NCA and in an earlier communication had said that the rehab programme was on right track.

India can ill-afford to go into the mega event with an injury cloud over one of its squad members as key players Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have suffered injuries recently while the likes of Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra have returned to full fitness.

The Board is likely to take a call on Praveen before the Indian team’s three-day conditioning camp at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore starting February 9.