Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar is likely to miss Wednesday's IPL 5 game against Rajasthan Royals but cannot be ruled out of the entire tournament, according to Mumbai Indians' team mentor and bowling coach Shaun Pollock. "It's a long tournament, so we give him every chance, every game to see if he will be fit. I am not sure about tomorrow, whether there will be enough time [for him to be fit]. I think by the time the 16th game [against Delhi Daredevils here] comes around, everything should be fine [with Tendulkar]," Pollock said at the pre-match media conference. "Who knows if he feels better tomorrow, we will be happy to give him a chance [to play].”
Tendulkar missed Mumbai's last two games injuring his right-hand middle finger during the IPL 5 opener against Chennai Super Kings on April 4. In his absence, MI had tried out Ambati Rayudu and T Suman as partners to South African Richard Levi. "I thought Suman played quite well [in the previous game against Deccan Chargers at Vizag] but it was a brilliant catch by Dale Steyn, and it was a wonderful over from Dale, a brilliant yorker," Pollock said.
Reflecting on the thrilling last-ball win over Deccan, Pollock said it would give Mumbai plenty of confidence considering the poor start to their run-chase on Sunday. "Unfortunately, we didn’t get off to a start we wanted. We got off to a poor start but still managed to win the game. That will give us [the] confidence to chase any total. It was important for Rohit [Sharma], who scored an unbeaten 73 off 50 balls] to get a good score. It will do wonders for his confidence as well," the former South Africa captain said.
"I think by the time the 16th game [against Delhi Daredevils] comes around, he should be fine."
According to Pollock, two wins out of three at this stage of the tournament was an encouraging start. "It was important we got over the line yesterday. Those are the close ones you need to win in a tournament like this which gives you [the] confidence, gives you [the] momentum and hope it gives you the advantage. Still waiting to find our feet [a] little bit, but happy to win two out of three."
Pollock said low-scoring games provided for good contests as [the] teams chasing were not certain about how to go about it. "I think teams are becoming cleverer as the tournament unfolds. Over the years, people have got the understanding what is required from a bowling perspective and you don't often see those big scores as it used to be in the past. I think often the small totals make for great games because you are not 100 per cent sure how you should go hard up front or pace yourselves [and] keep wickets in hand.
The 38-year-old former cricketer saw fellow South African and IPL debutant Levi as a match-winner if he gets going. "This is a bit of a new experience for him. He's such a wonderful striker of the ball, has the ability to win games on his own. If he can get going, it can be wonderful for us," Pollock, who played 108 Tests and 303 ODIs, said.