Ashwin suffers side strain, Harbhajan in as cover

Agarkar: Harbhajan's experience will be vital (3:20)

Ajit Agarkar believes R Ashwin's injury is a "big, big blow" to India, but that Harbhajan Singh is a good replacement (3:20)

A side strain to offspinner R Ashwin has forced India to call up Harbhajan Singh as back-up for the second and third ODIs against South Africa. It is not yet clear for how long Ashwin would be out with a BCCI release saying, "After making a detailed assessment of the injury, the BCCI medical team will confirm the time frame required for Ashwin to fully recovery from the injury." Harbhajan will join the team in Indore, the venue for the second ODI on October 14.

The problem occurred in Ashwin's fourth over, when he dived to his right to stop a drive down the ground. He got up, showing signs of pain, but went on to bowl a couple of more deliveries before talking to India captain MS Dhoni and walking off the field.

However, with AB de Villiers taking control of the game, Ashwin tested himself on the sidelines and after a word with the support staff, came back on the field in the 38th over. He was not allowed to bowl immediately though because, even though he had hurt himself while playing, it wasn't an external injury so he had to wait until 11.55am to bowl again. After bowling one more over, however, he walked off the field again.

In addition to Harbhajan, India do have legspinner Amit Mishra and left-arm spinner Axar Patel as slow-bowling options for the next two ODIs. The squad for the final two games is yet to be announced.