England v India, 1st ODI, Chester-le-Street September 3, 2011

India's casualty ward adds to Dhoni's woes


India are not far away from being able to name a star-studded injured XI after their casualty list continued to mount on a dank day at Chester-le-Street. Sachin Tendulkar pulled out before play due to a foot injury, putting his tour in doubt, then Rohit Sharma suffered a finger injury first ball when fending off a delivery from Stuart Broad and it would be a surprise if he wasn't soon on a plane home as well.

It added to an already lengthy list of players who have been ruled out of the tour. Zaheer Khan, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Ishant Sharma, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir have all had to depart at various points over the past month as long-standing and fresh injuries disrupted their tours. India's woes were almost capped off when MS Dhoni nearly joined the list of wounded when he mildly twisted his ankle while training in the middle of the Riverside ground on Friday afternoon. However, he escaped serious problems and the pain subsided by the morning of game.

Instead he was left to reflect on the growing assortment of aliments to impact his squad and rue India's best chance of claiming their first international victory of the tour, as rain arrived after 7.2 overs of England's chase with the home side wobbling on 27 for 2 chasing a testing 275.

In less than two months India have now lost seven frontline players and, even if most of these were injuries suffered on the job, India's 4-0 series defeat in the Tests and then finishing second in a closely fought Twenty20 match at Old Trafford has brought the issue of injury management once again to the fore.

After India lost the first Test at Lord's, Dhoni said, "everything that could go wrong did go wrong." It summed up India's lack of preparation for the tour along with the BCCI's ignorance of not treating the series as a marquee event. As at Lord's so in Durham as Dhoni sat on the fence, refusing to take a hard stance on how the injuries could be avoided.

"Whatever could go wrong went wrong," he said once again. "But every match it has been increasing right from Bhajji [Harbhajan Singh] not bowling in the second Test then Gautam [Gambhir] not being able to bat in the second innings, then missing a Test match so all sorts of things have happened. But we are still fighting with whatever resources we have got."

Dhoni added that fielding his first choice XI had become an impossible dream as he is left with what is quickly looking like a shadow squad. "It is really difficult as you would like to always play with your best eleven but at times you don't get that because of injuries. But this time we have gone down really hard."

Although the media and supporters would like Dhoni to be more forceful over the issue he is in a tough situation with two weeks left to make the most of the players available. However, he did suggest that increasing the size of touring squads might be an option in the future. "It would not be bad idea to travel with 18 players, something which we could look into."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on September 6, 2011, 14:31 GMT

    sachin going 2 hit his ton 100 in INDIA onlysachin going 2 hit his ton 100 in INDIA only

  • YorkshirePudding on September 6, 2011, 7:41 GMT

    @(September 05 2011, 10:18 AM GMT), why is it a case of sour grapes from england fans? we also reailse that winning a tournament means very little, as its all about peaking at the right time, and in the last WC most of the team peaked during the Ashes and had little left in the tank, the same has been said about india after the WC, they gave thier all to win it and where tired, which is an excuse I have heard from numerous indian fans, yet when English fans used that as an excuse for the poor performance in the WC we were told to stop making excuses.

  • dummy4fb on September 5, 2011, 10:18 GMT

    Really amazes me how fickle indian fans are. Only Trotsky, karthik and a few others seem to be making sense. And I will not even respond to the other international fans - the English (never won anything in sport other than a few test series, and then act as if they do not care for odi's - sour grapes) and the lankans ( please look at your own performance). When the chips are down, the only fans who seem to be supporting us are the Pakistani fans.

    I know we lost a series 4-0, but this was our first loss in 3 years - has this ever happened to us before? We have won more in the last 3 years than what we won 10 years before that. So 1 series does not make us a poor team. Additionally, the way the way these guys played in the 1st odi tells you that Indian cricket is in good hands.

  • sachin_vvsfan on September 5, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    These SL fans.......... @yorkslanka May be you can worry about the test series at home rather than worrying about indian cricket

  • Mannix16 on September 5, 2011, 2:06 GMT

    Tendulkar/Zaheer are smart. They know they have a few years of cricket left, then its retirement. Would you rather risk getting injured in England, or flying home take a rest, and then get ready to make $1 Million+ in the CL20? Hahaha. IPL and CL20 is destroying Indian cricket from the inside. I have an Indian buddy who didn't even know India lost the Test series, let alone that they were whitewashed, but knows half the teams in the CL20 and is pumped up for it. Ahhhh, why argue about how UDRS is bad for the game, when we have a bigger problem that lies ahead. Useless for Indian fans to argue about UDRS when the real problem lies at home

  • Nampally on September 5, 2011, 0:09 GMT

    @David_Gravitas: I have moved on and pointed out the corrective action is to arrive with 20 players at least 4 week ahead of the tour. Then go thru' serious conditioning/work out in the English weather. This will promote physically fit players with sufficient practice in the English conditions and on English pitches. A squad of 20 can divide into 2 halves and play 10 a side practice matches as well. Players will also adapt to the cold weather & to the food. You also say that England also had injury problems. But they never went beyond their squad of 15 players. Tremlett, Trott were the injured players for tests.England never had to replace one half of the team - Sehwag, Gambhir, Yuvraj, Harbhajan. Zaheer + 2 guys playing injured - Kumar & Ishant Sharma. These days people look at the results only. With a depleted lot it is not possible to produce results. ODI squad has 7 new players with non-defeatist attitude. Again the stars are missing but these youngsters will put up a good show.

  • zico123 on September 4, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    we are yet to recover from the wound inflicted by IPL, and now we have his brother Champions League to put salt on wound !

  • zico123 on September 4, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    is there still any doubt what over-cricket is doing to India, in already cramped International schedule BCCI squezed in IPL and CL, pls get rid of IPL and CL then players would get some due rest between international series

  • dummy4fb on September 4, 2011, 14:40 GMT

    No worries, everyone will be fit for the CLT20, wonder if Sachin would have pulled out of CLT20 game.

  • CricketChat on September 4, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    In a way, it also served an important purpose. India should move on from WC euphoria now and build next team. Several key members of the Indian team are in early to mid 30s.

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