Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar practiced for about 90 minutes on Thursday, raising hopes of his availability for Mumbai Indians’ next match against Kings XI Punjab here on Sunday.
Tendulkar, who sustained a finger injury in season’s opener against Chennai Super Kings on April 4, played a variety of strokes and did not appear to be in any kind of difficulty while facing the regular bowlers in the Mumbai ranks during a net session at the Bandra Kurla Complex Ground. Tendulkar’s absence was a telling blow for Mumbai as it affected the team's balance at the top of the order. Tendulkar although started practicing on April 14, prior to the home game against Delhi Daredevils, he did not feel comfortable enough to take the field on April 16.
"It will be nice to have Sachin Tendulkar back. I'm sure he will be back for the next game if nothing goes wrong here. If he bats with any of the foreigners [players], it makes easier for them to score runs. He can take a lot of pressure off other partner," Harbhajan Singh, Mumbai’s captain, had said after team’s humiliating defeat against Delhi.
While things looked bright for Mumbai as far as Tendulkar's availability is concerned, uncertainty still looms over Lasith Malinga's participation. The Sri Lankan speedster missed the game against Delhi because of back pain and did not practice with other team-mates on Thursday. Meanwhile, Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson is expected to join the team in a couple of days. The 30-year-old Queenslander was bought at his base price of $300,000 by Mumbai at the players’ auction in February.