The BCCI is getting ready to send replacements to England in the wake of three injuries.
All-rounder Washington Sundar and standby pacer Avesh Khan suffered finger injuries during the course of India’s warm-up game against a Combined County XI this week and have been ruled out of the entire series.
Sundar and Khan follow opener Shubhman Gill in the list of injuries that the Indian team has been inflicted with, reducing the squad of 24 to just 21. Given the task at hand – a five-Test series, involving 25 days of cricket in a 40-day window – the cricket board now finds it necessary to pack in the replacements.
TOI understands that the national selectors are getting into a huddle to figure out these replacements.
“It’s a conscious decision on part of the BCCI. Earlier, when it was just about one opener, the board decided there were two other options for that slot in Abhimanyu Easwaran and KL Rahul. But now a good all-rounder and an upcoming pacer have also been ruled out. Given the length of the tour, BCCI will have to send replacements,” sources said.
“Probably why Rahul Dravid decided not to play Devdutt Padikkal despite considering five replacements for Friday’s game.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar could be in the mix too, considering he can bat and can be effective in English conditions,” say those tracking developments.
“That is the reason the replacements need to be sent at the earliest. We’re just 10 days away from the first Test, so they won’t be available for that game anyway. At least they should start working for the second Test and even that’ll be close in case India are forced to play any of the newcomers,” sources say. developments said.
But, how many replacements is still the question.
Chief selector Chetan Sharma was asked to get in touch with the team management in England and the Board was learnt to be discussing two replacements and not three.
“Ideally, BCCI should send in three at the minimum,” say those in the know.
Injuries aside, there are Covid-related worries too. With cases rising in the United Kingdom and travelling from India to England continuing to require mandatory quarantines, the BCCI will have to act fast.
The said replacements are likely to fly out in the next 24 hours.