India's hopes of fielding a full-strength side for the second Test in Ahmedabad took a blow after Sachin Tendulkar was ruled out with a groin injury. Tendulkar missed part of the action on the first, second, fourth days and didn't take the field on the fifth day. Mohammad Kaif has been named as his replacement in the squad, though Yuvraj Singh is likely to take the spot in the playing XI.
Tendulkar was advised two-weeks rest after the Australia tour and the then physio, John Gloster, in his fitness report, warned against the injury entering a chronic phase.
Kaif last played a Test for India during the 2006 tour of the West Indies. He enjoyed an impressive domestic season for Uttar Pradesh and Central Zone, finishing fourth in the list of run-getters, scoring 993 runs in 13 first-class matches at an average of 58.41.
The Indian captain Anil Kumble too suffered a groin strain and both chose not to aggravate their injuries as the game was headed for a tame draw. "I had a slight niggle while I was bowling," Kumble said, one which was later found out to be an adductor strain. "So I didn't want to take any chances because I thought the match was probably over by then. Sachin picked up a slight strain in his groin and that got aggravated in the end. He also had a bit of a tummy upset."
Kumble's availability will be determined on the eve of the second Test. "Kumble sustained a right groin injury while bowling on the last day of the first Test," the Indian board stated in a release. "As a precautionary measure, he was rested from fielding. The physiotherapist is confident that he will be available to play the second Test. A final decision in this regard will be taken on April 2.
Ishant Sharma, who was suffering from injuries to his finger and toes, will remain part of the squad. "He's looking good," said Kumble, "and we'll take it day by day. We'll take a call before the next game."
RP Singh, who recovered from a hamstring injury, remains a concern. Not only did he not make an impact with the ball, but also showed signs of being short of fitness while on the field. With the next Test in four days' time, India's physio, Paul Close, maybe required to work overtime to get things right.