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Sreesanth replaces Praveen in World Cup squad

Kerala speedster S Sreesanth today replaced injured spaceman Praveen Kumar in the Indian squad for the upcoming cricket World Cup starting later this month. 

Praveen who sustained an elbow injury during the South Africa ODI series failed to recuperate in time and was ruled out after it became clear that he won't be fit by the time India play their first match against Bangladesh on February 19. 

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) in Bangalore 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 19th February. 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 Wednesday. Australia were on Tuesday dealt a severe blow ahead of their World Cup title defence after batting mainstay Michael Hussey and spinner Nathan Hauritz were ruled out of the mega-event due to injuries. Both Hussey and Hauritz suffered injuries during the just concluded ODI series against England and had undergone surgeries. While Hussey had suffered a hamstring tendon rupture, Hauritz dislocated his right shoulder. Cricket Australia has written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) to replace Hussey with Callum Ferguson and Hauritz with Jason Krejza. 

"The National Selection Panel has received a full briefing from CA medical staff. Based on the medical advice an application is being made to the ICC to replace both players in the World Cup squad," Andrew Hilditch, chairman of the National Selection Panel, said. "We've also applied to the ICC Technical Committee for Jason Krejza to replace Nathan Hauritz in the squad. Jason toured India with the Australian Test team in 2008 and understands those conditions," Hilditch said. 

Australian team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris gave an update on the injuries of other members of the World Cup-bound squad. "Ricky Ponting is going well in his rehabilitation following his finger fracture. He is batting regularly and is expected to make a transition into unrestricted training soon after the team arrives in India." "Brad Haddin was struck on the knee whilst batting during the seventh ODI against England. During the batting innings the knee became swollen. We expect this to resolve soon after we arrive in India," Kountouris said. "Steve Smith is making very good progress from the groin injury he sustained in the sixth ODI against England," he added.

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