India opener Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the third and final Test against New Zealand in Indore starting October 8 due to a "very minor fracture" on his left thumb that could take at least 15 days to heal. As a result Gautam Gambhir, who had been drafted into the squad after KL Rahul was injured during the Kanpur Test, is in line to play in the XI after a gap of two years.
Karun Nair, the middle order batsman, has been drafted into the squad as a reinforcement.
Dhawan, who made 1 and 17 in Kolkata, injured himself while batting on the third day, when he was struck twice on the thumb by Trent Boult. "Shikhar has a very minor fracture on his hand. He is under observations, and he has been advised 15 days' rest," India's media manager Nishant Arora said. "So he is ruled out for the next Test match. The selectors have been informed."
Nair, Karnataka's second-highest run-getter in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy, made his international debut during the limited-overs series in Zimbabwe in June. He was more recently part of the India A squad that toured Australia for a tri-series and two first-class matches. However, it is likely that Gambhir could return following a good showing in the Duleep Trophy, in which he made 356 runs in five innings with four half-centuries.
Gambhir's last Test was during India's 1-3 series loss in England in 2014, when he aggregated 25 runs in four innings. That series, too, was a comeback for him, as he was dropped in 2012 and missed all India's Tests in 2013 due to a sharp decline in form.
Gambhir, 34, has 4046 Test runs at 42.58 with nine centuries and 21 half-centuries. The last of Gambhir's nine Test tons came against Bangladesh in Chittagong in January 2010, when he made 116.