The Indian selectors have called up Subramaniam Badrinath, the Tamil Nadu batsman, to the ODI squad as replacement for Gautam Gambhir, who suffered an injury at the nets on Sunday.
The board secretary, Niranjan Shah, said Gambhir slipped while batting in the nets and sustained a right groin muscle strain, which, while not serious, is expected to rule him out of action for the next two weeks. Badrinath has not been told how long he will be with the side, but only that he was replacing Gambhir. "I saw in the news that he is out for two weeks, so I presuming I will be there for the next three ODIs," Badrinath told Cricinfo in Rajkot, where he is representing Rest of India in the Irani Trophy match. The current squad is till the next ODI, on Thursday, and a fresh side will be named for the last two games.
To Badrinath the news didn't really come as a surprise. He has been one of the most consistent batsmen on the domestic circuit for the last two seasons and especially prolific with the India A team over the last three months. He averaged 70.66 in 2005-06 when he was the second-highest run-getter in Ranji, 92 in 2006, 55.91 in 2006-07, and in the current season he has got out only twice and has scored 687 runs. His double-century against South Africa A was an effortless knock, and he also starred in the one-run win over the South Africans last week in the only unofficial ODI of the series that was completed, scoring 88 off 89 balls and taking 4 for 43. Badrinath said he has not been putting pressure on himself by thinking about the selection, despite the prolific run. "It's tough to be expecting selection every time and you don't make it to the team. So I'd say it has come at the right time."
Badrinath, 27, had emerged as a compact batsman - a grafter, but has expanded his repertoire of strokes with age. "I have worked really hard on my shots," said Badrinath. "I have worked on getting stronger, so that I can play the big shots and clear the field, which is a good thing for even Tests."
There was also some speculation over Sachin Tendulkar's fitness - he did not take the field for Australia's innings after scoring 79 - but John Gloster, the physio, said he had a mild knee strain that would be assessed in the morning. "He has a little strain and that's why he did not field today, " Lalchand Rajput, the team manager, told PTI. "It's not serious and I guess he would be okay by tomorrow. It's too trivial a niggle to make him doubtful for the next match."