Premature to comment on Tendulkar's fitness: More
Kiran More, India's chairman of selectors, categorically said that it was premature to say whether Sachin Tendulkar would be available or not for the four-Test series against West Indies.
"It's too early to say anything on Sachin's fitness," More told repoters in Mumbai. "It's for team physio John Gloster and Sachin to judge. He's already started light workouts. His cricketing ability is not in doubt and we will give him the opportunity to test his fitness. But I cannot say more."
Tendulkar is recuperating from a shoulder operation he underwent towards the end of May and was not available for the five-match ODI series in the Caribbean starting on May 18.
More said, "I am constantly being updated about his progress by Gloster, every two days. I hope to get a report by the 20th or 21st of this month before we sit to choose the Test team, in all likelihood on the 22nd before the third ODI [at St Kitts on May 23].
"Wasim Jaffer is also making good progress. Ashish Nehra has started bowling, I am told, while L Balaji is also on the way back to fitness. All in all it's a good sign, with Zaheer Khan also playing in England."
More said ideally the selectors were looking towards a pool of eight to nine fast bowlers to cope with the cricket in store for the senior team. More was also happy that the Indian board has decided to have constant A team tours as well.
"We need to have backups for each fast bowler. The ideal way is to get an A tour on when the India team is playing a series so that whenever a replacement is needed for some reason the available player is match-fit and ready to step in like it was the case with England."
More was referring to opener Alastair Cook and fast bowler James Anderson stepping in straight from an A team tour in the West Indies to fill in the gap left by the absence of key players when England visited India recently.
"I was happy to see the way the A team performed in Abu Dhabi", he added. "The youngsters are really coming up. They could have done well in the final. They could not finish off a fine tournament, but overall I am very happy with the way the youngsters performed."
More indicated that a second wicketkeeper is expected to be chosen for the Test series in addition to first choice Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He said that though the team had performed exceptionally well in one-day cricket, a lot of work remained to be done before the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies next year to make India a formidable outfit.