India's laundry list of injuries in the Test series in England will test the selectors when they assemble on Saturday to pick the team for the limited-overs leg of the tour. India's fitness levels, and the selectors' perceived tendency to go by the players' word on their fitness, have come under sharp criticism in the wake of India's 0-2 deficit in England, and the possible loss of the No. 1 Test ranking that India held for 18 months.
The fresh list of injuries includes those to Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh, and Zaheer Khan is yet to recover from his hamstring injury. Virender Sehwag's shoulder is yet to be tested since his surgery.
One piece of good news for India is that Ashish Nehra has recovered from the finger injury that ruled him out of the World Cup final and the IPL. Nehra has submitted his fitness certificate to the BCCI and has made himself available for selection for the Twenty20 match and one-dayers in England. Nehra told PTI he was fully fit and was training in Bangalore.
The wisdom behind selecting a squad so soon - the limited-overs games begin on August 31 - is not apparent. Yuvraj and Harbhajan have been advised a recovery period of four and three weeks respectively, making them doubtful starters, but the selectors could have waited for the third Test - starting August 10 - to see how Zaheer and Sehwag go.
If Yuvraj is not selected, it could give Yusuf Pathan another chance after he managed just 42 runs in five ODIs in the West Indies. A left-field choice could be Ajinkya Rahane, who has been a massive scorer in domestic tournaments. Rahane furthered his case with a second-innings century in the Emerging Players Tournament last week.
If Harbhajan doesn't make it - or in case he is dropped after his dismal show in the Tests - Amit Mishra should join R Ashwin in the spin department after Mishra's strong showing in the West Indies. Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel are sure to be two of the seamers, with Nehra likely to take a spot as well. Depending on the fitness of Zaheer one or two of Ishant Sharma, Sreesanth and R Vinay Kumar could make the squad.
Parthiv Patel is likely to be the reserve wicketkeeper.
Likely squad: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (capt & wk), Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh / Ajinkya Rahane / Yusuf Pathan, Parthiv Patel (wk), Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar, R Ashwin, Amit Mishra / Harbhajan Singh, and three out of Ishant Sharma / Zaheer Khan / Sreesanth / R Vinay Kumar / Ashish Nehra