Murali Kartik has been visiting an oxygen tank in a bid to be fit to play for Somerset in Friends Life t20 Finals Day at Edgbaston on Saturday August 27.
The Indian left-arm spinner, who is such a key figure for the club in one-day cricket, remains under treatment for a torn gluteal muscle and will not be asked to test his fitness until later this week.
But, even if Kartik is not quite ready to take part in a full scale Twenty20 practice match at Taunton on Thursday, he will travel with the squad to Birmingham and be assessed again before the semi-final against Hampshire.
Said coach Andy Hurry: “We are very hopeful that Kartik will be fit for our in-house game, but if not he will still have a couple more days to get right. He has been visiting the oxygen tank at Nailsea, which Alfonso Thomas used to speed his recovery from a torn hamstring, and has been given a rehabilitation programme to do twice every day.
“On top of that he is receiving daily treatment. He is not able to practice any skills at the moment, but with the ability and experience he has we don’t see that as a problem.”
Oxygen chambers are thought to reduce the recovery time from muscle tears by up to 20 per cent and the one at Nailsea is used regularly by Somerset. Breathing pure oxygen can reduce inflammation.
Young all-rounder Lewis Gregory has also been under physiotherapy for an ongoing back problem, but is expected to be fit for Finals Day, having made himself a vital cog in Somerset’s t20 side this season.
“We are looking at Lewis playing in our Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Gloucestershire at Bristol on Wednesday,” said Hurry. “He is fit to play, but we have to manage the number of overs he bowls because there will be consequences later in his career if we don’t look after him.
“Lewis has a very important role to play for us in Twenty20 cricket because he bowls a couple of overs at the start of an innings and a couple at the death.”