Bhuvneshwar to miss first two Tests
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is set to be ruled out of India's first two Tests in Australia, due to a left ankle injury. Bhuvneshwar missed India's training session in Adelaide on Sunday, where the first Test will start on Tuesday.
A statement from the team management stated that Bhuvneshwar "is recovering from his left ankle pain and he could be available for first Test selection". However, ESPNcricinfo understands that Bhuvneshwar, who was adjudged Player of the Year at last month's BCCI Awards, could well be out of contention till the third Test, in Melbourne.
The BCCI had considered the option of withdrawing Bhuvneshwar from the squad for the Test series, but decided that it would be better for his recovery if he was monitored by the team's physiotherapists in Australia. A BCCI insider revealed that the team management has been instructed not to rush him back into action since since he will be expected to play a vital role in the upcoming tri-series against Australia and England, as well as in the World Cup.
Bhuvneshwar, with 19 wickets, finished as India's highest wicket-taker during the five-Test series in England, and his absence will also create a hole in India's lower order, as he had displayed his ability with the bat in those matches, scoring three fifties. Without Bhuvneshwar, India are likely to field a three-pronged pace attack consisting of Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron and Mohammed Shami.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo