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    Yusuf begins knee rehabilitation

    New Delhi: A lengthy rehabilitation awaits Yusuf Pathan, the India and Baroda allrounder, as he begins strength-training on a knee injury. Yusuf hurt his knee while taking a diving catch off the bowling of his brother Irfan during Baroda’s third-round Ranji Trophy game against Haryana, and he now faces long hours in the gym.“The team physio and doctor have charted out an extensive routine for me so I can get my knee back to full strength, and I expect it to take some time,” Yusuf told Cricketnext.com. “I am awaiting news from the medical team about exactly what I have to do. Right now the knee is stiff and there’s some pain, so I’m in for a rigorous period of rehabilitation. It will mean a lot of work doing core strength-training in the gym and otherwise, but I cannot determine a date for my first-class return. The medics have estimated between four to eight weeks, which is a long time. I can only remain positive and work under their advice.”Yusuf, 29, had been dropped after the tour to the West Indies after averaging 10.5 from four ODI innings, but earned a recall to the Twenty20 side to face England. He played that one-off match - which India lost - but did little of note, scoring 12 off 10 and not getting a chance to bowl. His Ranji season hasn’t been a success either, with scores of 9, 10 and 23 to go with a single wicket. “It was just bad luck that I got injured during the season,” said Yusuf, one of two World Cup-winning players - along with Ashish Nehra - who was not awarded a BCCI contract. “I was feeling good about my game and didn’t have any other issues. The injury is a setback for sure. These things happen in cricket, and I’ve just got to work that much harder to make a comeback.”Baroda, runners-up in last year’s Ranji Trophy, are currently first in the Elite Division’s Group B with eight points. After their opening game against Tamil Nadu was virtually rained out, they beat Madhya Pradesh comprehensively in the second round and conceded a first-innings lead in the drawn game against Haryana. Tamil Nadu also have eight points but have yet to win a match. The star for Baroda has been Irfan, with 19 wickets at 12.88, including three five-wicket hauls. As talk of a potential recall for Irfan swells, with the selectors due to announce an injured Praveen Kumar’s replacement on Friday, Yusuf was quietly confident of his brother’s chances. “Irfan bhai has had a terrific start to the season, taking wickets with the new ball and old,” he said. “He’s in a really good space right now and hopefully he will get the reward. He’s bowling very well at the moment and I don’t see any reason why he should not get selected, but in the end often such decision are not in a player’s control. I hope he is selected for Australia.”