India in Sri Lanka 2008-09 February 2, 2009

Balaji replaces injured Munaf for SL tour

Cricinfo staff


L Balaji has earned a national recall after more than three years © AFP
 

L Balaji has been recalled to the Indian team, and will replace Munaf Patel in Sri Lanka. Munaf sustained a groin injury and was forced to return home after the second ODI.

Balaji last played for India in an ODI in 2005 in Sri Lanka before a stress fracture forced him out of the game. He returned to first-class cricket this season after a back surgery and a remodelled action. He was instrumental in taking Tamil Nadu into the semi-finals with 36 wickets from seven games at 17.50. His comeback to cricket started in the first season of the IPL, where his 11 wickets in nine games for Chennai Super Kings included a hat-trick.

Munaf, who will head to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore for rehabilitation, had an MRI scan done on Sunday, which revealed the injury. "He won't be fit anyway till February 8 so we are not taking any chances and are sending him back," Prakash Dixit, the Indian team manager, said.

The injury, Dixit said, was noticed after the first ODI in Dambulla, where Munaf bowled five wicketless overs for 32 runs. "Dhoni said on Sunday that Munaf had slipped and fallen during warm-up before the first game. The injury must have started then," Dixit said. Munaf did not play the second match in Colombo.

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