Express News Service
CHENNAI: The injury list is growing in Team India’s camp in the United Kingdom. A day after opener Shubman Gill returned home because of leg injury, all-rounder Washington Sundar has also been ruled out of the five-match Test series against England with a finger injury. With reserve pacer Avesh Khan also out of the series with fractured finger, India’s current squad strength has come down from 24 to 21.
While Washington did take the field on Thursday, which was Day Three of India’s practice game against County Select XI, it is understood that he would return home over the weekend along with Avesh. It is understood that Washington first reported pain in his finger during the World Test Championship final and was advised rest. And since joining the team after a two-week break, he is learnt to have experienced slight pain during training sessions.
With Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel in the mix, the team management was not fretting over Washington’s niggle as they expected him to be fully fit by the time the Test series begin in Nottingham on August 4.
However, the injury seems to have only worsened while he batted in the first innings before being dismissed by Mohammed Siraj. It is learnt that Washington underwent tests and has been advised a month’s rest.
Although the injury list is increasing, the team management hasn’t made any fresh request for potential replacements. In fact, the one they had placed earlier following the injury to Gill was turned down by the BCCI. With two players ruled out over the past two days, and five Tests lined up in 42 days, the workload on the rest is only going to increase, especially given the fact that the team can’t use any net bowlers from outside.
Though there are still 21 players available, the batting unit is already thin. In fact, captain Virat Kohli is not playing the practice match because of a stiff back and vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane also didn’t take the field because of a hamstring injury.
Given what happened in Australia — India handed debuts to four players because of injuries to regulars — there is a strong case to send replacements as any further injury setbacks could see the team make stopgap arrangements in an important series.
In case the BCCI chooses to send any replacements, they have to take a call in the next few days as any player entering the UK has to serve the mandatory quarantine period. “It is too early to talk about replacements. There is still some time and if the situation continues to be bad, then the replacements can be sent so that they are available for the third Test, if not the second,” a BCCI official told The New Indian Express.
In that scenario, there is a strong possibility that the replacements may fly to the UK from Sri Lanka, where India’s white-ball team is placed currently.