The BCCI has finally taken cognizance of the fact that the Indian cricket team currently has too many injuries to handle and decided to bring in replacements for two of the players who will play no further part in the India England series.
India lost the first two Tests of the four Test series to England and will now have to win both remaining Tests in order to draw the series and prevent the England team from plausibly usurping their no.1 Test team tag. In that light, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, is already struggling for want of personnel who are fit and injury free, leave aside the fatigue factor also that the captain is harping upon.
Harbhajan Singh was initially ruled out of the third Test at Edgbaston, Birmingham following an abdominal injury. But now it appears that his injury is significant to render him unavailable for India for the remaining two Tests. Joining him on the sidelines is also the player who played his first Test in a quite a while, Yuvraj Singh. Yuvraj Singh’s left index finger suffered a fracture as a result of taking some rough stuff from Tim Bresnan and now the scan that he has had done has apparently put a hold on his Test comeback once more.
Suresh Raina may think he can breathe easy now that his immediate competition for the no.6 spot may have been temporarily rendered injured and therefore, unable to press on. But the BCCI has made two replacements in the Indian squad for England, bringing in Pragyan Ojha and Virat Kohli, the latter having toured the West Indies but fell out in favour of the Indian selectors who opted for a fit Yuvraj Singh in the Indian squad for England.
While there is a greater possibility that Pragyan Ojha may play before Virat Kohli may even get a chance if Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir can prove their fitness ahead of the third Test, Amit Mishra will have a few anxious moments himself as he has to fight off for the lone spinner’s spot left vacant by the absence of Harbhajan Singh.
While the better part of the news is that since Harbhajan Singh’s performance have not really been anything to write home about, even holding back England in terms of leaking runs even as the fast bowlers go about their business at this point would be an improvement, leave alone take wickets. But the real question is how the selectors and team management view these changes because when they are giving the captain an additional spinner, it either spells the idea that India could go with two spinners which seems unlikely or lack of faith in Amit Mishra which could also worry Mishra into underperformance if he is picked. So, questions continue to plague.
What though is better for India is rather than have two players who are injured and less than fit but forced to play under the circumstances, Dhoni can have at least two fit players at his disposal if he chooses to exercise the options.