Suresh Raina has been called up to the India squad for the fourth Test against Australia as replacement for the injured Shikhar Dhawan, who has been ruled out for six weeks with a fractured left hand. Gautam Gambhir, who had been dropped in favour of Dhawan for the Australia Tests, was also added to the squad initially, before a blood test showed he was down with jaundice, a BCCI release said.
Dhawan had injured his hand while trying to stop a Phillip Hughes square drive during Australia's second innings on the fourth day of the Mohali Test. He did not field for the rest of the day and also did not bat during India's chase after having made 187 in his debut innings. ESPNcricinfo understands the selectors had discussed that the need for naming a replacement for Dhawan would arise only if the team management asked for it.
Dhawan's fracture, Gambhir's illness and Virender Sehwag's axing after the Hyderabad Test leave M Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane as the only openers in the squad. Vijay is the only India opener to have played in all three Tests so far, with hundreds in Hyderabad and Mohali. Rahane is yet to play a Test but looks most likely to partner Vijay in Delhi.
However, with Raina's inclusion as a back-up batsman, it won't be surprising if Cheteshwar Pujara opens, like he did in the second innings in Mohali, and Raina bats in the middle order, leaving no place for Rahane.
The last of Raina's 17 Tests came against New Zealand in Bangalore in September 2012. He wasn't part of the squad for the four Tests against England and the first three Tests against Australia. He had an underwhelming Ranji season, with 304 runs in six games at an average of 33.77, although he did make 134 and 71 in the Irani Cup game against Mumbai last month.