India’s troubled tour of England just took a turn for the worse as off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and batsman Yuvraj Singh were ruled out of the rest of the Test series with injuries.
Right-handed batsman Virat Kohli will replace Yuvraj and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha will come in for Harbhajan, according to the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI).
Yuvraj fractured his index finger after he was hit by a short-pitched delivery from Tim Bresnan during India’s 319-run defeat in the second Test at Trent Bridge, while Harbhajan suffered a grade one abdominal muscle strain in the same match.
BCCI Secretary N Srinivasan confirmed the injury-induced ouster of the duo.
“While Yuvraj may take around four weeks to recover, Harbhajan is likely to recover in three weeks’ time,” said Srinivasan. “The all-India senior selection committee picked Kohli and Ojha as their replacements. Both players will join the Indian team at the earliest.”
Ojha, who was set to join Surrey for the county championship and the CB40 one-day competition, will instead join his national team. Kohli, who was part of India’s recent tour to West Indies, and had failed to shine in his debut series, gets another chance to cement his place in the Test team.
India, 2-0 down in the four-match series, have struggled with injuries during the tour and England will take over at the top of the world rankings for the first time if they win the series by a two-Test margin.
The top-ranked tourists have missed prolific opening batsman Virender Sehwag in both Tests because of a shoulder injury, while leading fast-bowler Zaheer Khan was injured on day one of the first Test at Lord’s.
Regular opener Gautam Gambhir missed the second Test with a bruised arm. Sehwag and Gambhir are set to return to the side for the third Test that begins on August 10. There is, however, no word on the fitness of Khan.
‘Uproar if incident involved Indian batsman’
Meanwhile, England coach Andy Flower believes there would have been a ‘proper international incident’ had an India batsman been run out in an Ian Bell-like fashion in India.
Bell was run out on the stroke of tea on the third day of the Trent Bridge Test after incorrectly assuming the ball had gone ‘dead’ but India withdrew the appeal during the interval, following an approach by England.
Flower defended the decision to ask India to reprieve Bell, saying that had a similar incident involving an Indian batsman occurred in India, there would have been an international uproar.
“If an England side had done that in Mumbai against Tendulkar, I think there would’ve been a proper international incident on the cards,” he said. “I don’t think that’s being overly dramatic.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2011.