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Team preparations affected by injury concerns

Only Deccan Chargers remain unaffected among the four sides that take the field today.

As the men in the backrooms of the four teams playing in today's matches put on their thinking caps, the Deccan Chargers will have fewer injury headaches compared to the other three. The defending champions take on Kings XI Punjab in Cuttack - an alternative venue to their ground in Hyderabad that was ruled out because of security issues - knowing they will not have to face the pace of the Australian Brett Lee.

The fast bowler will head home without having played a game for more treatment on his sore elbow as he aims to get fit in time for the World Twenty20 in April. But as one Australian leaves Punjab this week, another flies in. Shaun Marsh, the opening batsman, will be in India by the weekend provided he can convince Cricket Australia that his injured back is fully healed. With two defeats in as many games, Punjab are placed only above Rajasthan Royals at the wrong end of the table.

The Delhi Daredevils, meanwhile, are likely to be without their captain Gautam Gambhir who pulled a hamstring on Wednesday during their 98-run defeat to the Mumbai Indians. Dinesh Karthik will stand in, aware that their opponents today - the Chennai Super Kings - also have a leadership problem with MS Dhoni nursing an elbow injury. The charismatic India captain has been advised to have 10 days rest and will miss the next four games.

But a Chennai team official said yesterday: "At the moment, I would not like to speculate on his injury. He is not looking good but I would tell you about his exact condition tomorrow." Suresh Raina will lead the side in Dhoni's absence. apassela@thenational.ae

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