Mumbai: Mumbai Indians' sagging hopes in IPL 5 got a major boost ahead of their match against Kings XI Punjab here on Sunday as Sachin Tendulkar was declared fit to take the field. Tendulkar got hit on his finger during the IPL opener against the defending champions Chennai Super Kings while fending off a rising delivery from the left-arm speedster Doug Bollinger.
"He's fine to play and is playing tomorrow [against Punjab]," Mumbai coach Robin Singh said on Saturday. There was some concern at the nets on Saturday when Tendulkar got hit on his finger after facing a few balls and came off. But he later joined the fielding drills, practicing catching with a tennis ball hit by team's fielding coach Jonty Rhodes.
Robin insisted that there was nothing to worry. "He [Tendulkar] just got a small hit on the finger. He's playing tomorrow [against Punjab]," the coach insisted.
Tendulkar hasn't played a game since being hit by a rising delivery by Doug Bollinger in the IPL 5 opener.
Out of five games so far, MI have lost two, significantly at home, mainly because of batting failures on a turning track against Pune Warriors India and a bouncy pitch against Delhi Daredevils. The coach said the batsmen know that they will have to step up. "We have not batted as well as we can. We certainly have to step up when it comes to batting. Everyone is very much aware of that. We just couldn't play good cricket, couldn't chase 129 [against Pune Warriors India on April 6]. We got out for 92 [against Delhi Daredevils]," said Robin.
"There's no excuse. However badly we play, we should not be getting out for those low scores with the sort of batting line-up we have. It's not just about the openers. We have 20 overs to bat and we have a deep batting line up. As openers we will play shot, that's the format of the game, first six overs we will try to maximize. It will appear a high-risk game to most players. It depends on how we execute and not just about one guy."
Meanwhile, Mumbai got a big jolt earlier on Saturday when their strike bowler Lasith Malinga was reportedly ruled out of the tournament for the next two weeks because of back spasms. But Robin said that Malinga will be back early next week. "He has got a sore back but he will be back early next week."