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November 26, 2012
Fast bowler Umesh Yadav, who was ruled out of India's second Test against England due to a lower back injury, will miss at least the third Test of the series too, which starts in Kolkata on December 5.
Yadav, the most effective of India's pace bowlers in the series-opener in Ahmedabad, will not recover in time despite there being a prolonged break ahead of the Test. "The injury is more serious than it was thought to be, so the team will have to make do without him for at least another Test," an insider told ESPNcricinfo.
It was learnt that Yadav, who has been advised "at least 10 days' rest" by a specialist in Mumbai, will get a short break along with his team-mates. While England will remain in Mumbai before leaving for Kolkata on November 30, India's players have been given time off and have been asked to report in Kolkata on December 2. Yadav will join the squad in Kolkata to be monitored by physiotherapist Evan Speechley*.
As a result of Yadav's injury, the national selection panel will have another reason to ponder over the bowling attack when they sit down, on Tuesday, to finalise the India squad for the remaining two Tests and the two Twenty20 internationals that follow before England fly home for Christmas.
After Yadav was ruled out of the Wankhede Test, on the eve of the game, the team management chose to ignore Ishant Sharma and Ashok Dinda, who was called in as late replacement for him, and played all the three spinners in the XI instead. However, the trio of Pragyan Ojha, R Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh was outdone by England's Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, meaning changes are on the cards.
Sandeep Patil, India's chief selector, and his colleagues will have to decide whether one of Piyush Chawla or Amit Mishra, the legbreak bowlers who have proven their fitness in the Ranji Trophy, is a better choice than Harbhajan as the third spinner. Returning to Test cricket after a 14-month break, Harbhajan returned match figures of 23-1-84-2, with lower-order batsmen Stuart Broad and James Anderson his only victims. Harbhajan, though, is one game shy of becoming the tenth India cricketer to have made 100 Test appearances. Dinda is set to remain in the fifteen.
There are unlikely to be any changes made to the batting line-up, despite the top order's failure at the Wankhede.
With India having failed to impress for the third consecutive time in the World Twenty20, in Sri Lanka in September-October, it will be interesting to see the new selection panel's T20 combination. These selectors are set to pick a squad for the shortest format for the first time, and it might not be a surprise if there is a major shake-up to that unit, which failed to make it past the Super Eights stage at the World T20.
*18:19GMT, November 26: This article has been updated
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