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One of the major concerns for Kings XI Punjab ahead of the third season of the IPL is a long injury list, but they will be relieved that Yuvraj Singh, one of their most important players, is likely to be fit in time for the first game against Delhi Daredevils.

Yuvraj tore a ligament in his left wrist in late January and missed the second Test against Bangladesh and the entire series against South Africa that ended two days ago. He had been to Australia last week for treatment and is now looking forward to resuming batting. "I will start batting in three days," he told Cricinfo. "It's been five weeks (since the injury), so yes, I should be good for the first game."

Punjab were one of the best teams in the inaugural IPL, cruising into the semi-finals, but had a tough time in the second season, affected by the injuries to fast bowlers Sreesanth and Jerome Taylor, and the unavailability of Australian players for much of the competition.

Yuvraj has targeted at least a semi-final spot this year, and believes one of the keys to a strong performance will be having the entire squad fit and available for the tournament. "We had a good first year, made the semi-finals easily when we had our full bench of players," he said. "So if we have our full bench of players not injured, we have a good chance of going through to the semi-finals."

They have several important players struggling for fitness, though. Australian batsman Shaun Marsh, their standout performer in the first IPL season, became the latest worry after he was ruled out of the upcoming one-day internationals against New Zealand due to a back problem.

Their most expensive overseas player, fast bowler Brett Lee, is also beset with fitness problems. (However, IPL chairman Lalit Modi said in his Twitter page that Lee is arriving in India tomorrow). Lee is recovering from a painful elbow surgery that ruled him out of the entire Australian home summer campaign, and said a couple of weeks ago that he might never bowl again. He has only played two matches since spearheading New South Wales' march to the Champions League title last October.

"We have a few injuries but we still have a bit of time to get fit for the first game," Yuvraj said. Besides fitness issues, the lack of quality Indian batting back-up for Yuvraj is another of Punjab's drawbacks, which makes it vital that allrounder Irfan Pathan recovers from the back injury that has kept him out of the preliminary squad of the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.

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