Jasprit Bumrah's injured back might not require surgery "as of now", according to India bowling coach Bharat Arun. India's fast bowling spearhead is, however, unlikely to play a part in the remainder of India's home season, which features limited-overs series against Bangladesh, West Indies and Sri Lanka over the next three months.
Earlier in October, Bumrah visited the UK with the National Cricket Academy's chief physiotherapist Ashish Kaushik, and consulted specialists to treat the back problem. The BCCI hasn't made public the nature of Bumrah's problem, except saying in a press release that the injury was "minor".
"Fast bowling is an unnatural activity. Despite our best efforts there can be no guarantees. We expect Bumrah to be back sooner than later, hopefully in time for the New Zealand Test series that is our next big challenge," Arun told the Hindu. "As of now, he doesn't need surgery."
Bumrah's absence hasn't affected the performance of India's fast bowling group, though, with Umesh Yadav stepping up to join Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma to form a solid combine against South Africa in the recent Test series.
Arun, who has been working with the bowlers since 2015, was particularly impressed with Umesh's comeback - he picked up 11 wickets in two Tests, a majority of those a reward for attacking the stumps.
"He's strong and quick and now he is bowling in better channels, making the batsman play around the off stump," Arun said. "He's got reverse swing, has a nasty short ball. He and Shami, who is fast, accurate and dangerous, are a potent combination."
Arun also conceded that there might be no immediate end in sight to the battle between R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja to be the No. 1 Test spinner. Chances are the team management will go in for a "horses for courses" approach should they have to pick just one of the two.
While their performances have been neck-and-neck with the ball, the team management has in the past considered Jadeja's batting and fielding contributions as a valuable add-on, especially overseas.
"He's among the best spinners in the world, top class, and is approaching 400 Test wickets," Arun said of Ashwin. "In fact, Ashwin went to England and Australia as our No. 1 spinner and then ran into fitness issues. Ravindra Jadeja grabbed his chance, giving us control with the ball, solidity with the bat and fielding brilliantly.
"Away from home, if we have to pick one of the two in the eleven, it will be horses for courses looking at the conditions and the opposition. Then we have Kuldeep Yadav who picked five with his wrist spin in his last Test, in Sydney. We have an embarrassment of riches."