Injured Aravind out for four weeks
S Aravind, the Karnataka medium-pacer, has been sidelined for four weeks due to a knee injury. There was some good news for Karnataka, though, as Manish Pandey was recovering earlier than expected from his hernia operation, and could be part of the squad for the knock-out phase of the Ranji Trophy that starts on January 2.
Aravind has a sore right knee, and hasn't been able to bowl since the first evening of Karnataka's ongoing Ranji Trophy match against Punjab at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. Aravind had had surgery three years ago on his right knee, but that played only a minor role in his current problem. Aravind, who was called up to the Indian one-day squad earlier this year, hasn't been at his best this season, taking nine wickets at 49.44.
His injury leaves Karnataka without all three of their fast bowlers who have been instrumental in the team becoming a major force in the Ranji Trophy over the past three seasons - Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun are part of the Indian Test squad in Australia. The earliest Aravind is expected to return to action is for the semi-finals, if Karnataka qualify.
Pandey, who hit a double century against Mumbai in November, was originally expected to be ruled out of the entire season. He has started working out in the gym and is progressing well enough to have a chance to play the quarter-finals.
The other cause for cheer for Karnataka on the injury front is that the fast bowler SL Akshay, who made his debut this season, is recovering well from a hamstring problem kept him out of the Punjab match. He is "75% fit" according to the team physio, and a decision on his availability for the final league match against Uttar Pradesh will be taken after a fitness test over the weekend.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo