Fast bowler Umesh Yadav is unlikely to be fit in time for final match of the India-England Test series, which begins in Nagpur on December 13, as he is taking longer than originally expected to recover from a lower-back injury.
With India all but certain to reach Nagpur in a must-win situation, this comes as a blow for an Indian attack that that has been plundered over the last two Tests. Yadav was the pick of India's fast bowlers in the first Test in Ahmedabad, but was then ruled out with injury for "at least for 10 days".
The prognosis for the injury has been ambiguous; while one specialist had put forward the 10-day recuperation period, another had advised him rest for three months. Now, a day before the selectors are to choose the squad for the final Test, ESPNcricinfo has learnt that the fast bowler will surely be unavailable for the game. He is also unlikely to recover in time for the England Twenty20s and the Pakistan limited-overs series' that follow.
"This will be disappointing for him not just because it [the Nagpur game] is his home Test, but also because the team needs him badly," a source said, adding it would be "a miracle" if he features in the Pakistan series.
With Yadav unavailable, Sandeep Patil and his colleagues in the selection panel don't have much to choose from as far as pace bowling is concerned. But it remains to be seen if the selectors take tough calls on a batting line-up that has faltered time and again in the series.