India’s injury list on their ongoing Australia tour is, rather unfortunately, long enough to be turned into a full-fledged XI.
The much-awaited trip, which now enters its third month, has witnessed a spate of injuries over the past few weeks for the visiting team. While some have been the result of existing fitness issues, others have been unfortunate injuries sustained through the course of the tour. The current list leaves India with a heavily depleted roster for the final Test in Brisbane, and the management might have a hard time assembling a team of 11 fully fit men.
Apart from the players listed below, others have also been affected by injuries in the lead-up to the tour. Rohit Sharma missed the entire white-ball leg and the first two Tests owing to a hamstring injury sustained during IPL 2020, while Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were also ruled out of contention for the Tests after suffering from side strain and thigh injury respectively during IPL 2020.
At the start of 2020, it looked possible that Rahul would take over as India’s first-choice wicketkeeper in all three formats, after donning the role to great effect on the white-ball leg of India’s tour to New Zealand at the start of the year. His promotion to ODI vice-captaincy indicated a bigger role in the team, including Test cricket, a format where he has blown hot and cold in recent times. However, a wrist sprain ruled him out of contention for the final two Tests.
Two seasons ago, Mayank began his Test career with a bang but appeared to have lost a bit of sheen in 2020, which led to a poor run in the first two Tests against Australia. Excluded at the expense of Rohit Sharma, he seemed to be in line for a recall as India’s injury list swelled up further after the Sydney Test, but a reported finger injury sustained in the nets (potentially a hairline fracture) could rule him out of the final game as well.
There have been so many personnel changes since the T20I series that Manish Pandey’s injury might well have been forgotten. His plans of sealing a spot in the middle order were hindered by an elbow injury during the T20Is, after which he was replaced by Shreyas Iyer. It’s now being reported that a tennis elbow has ruled him out of the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India’s domestic T20 tournament.
Iyer took up Manish Pandey’s place midway through the T20I leg which followed the three ODIs, but himself got injured while fielding during the second 50-over game. Not part of the Test squad, he was supposed to feature in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well but is now a doubtful starter, and is said to be undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy.
India’s hero in the Sydney Test, Vihari braved Australia’s attack for 161 deliveries through a hamstring injury that he sustained during the course of his knock. It is set to rule him out of the fourth Australia-India Test, compounding India’s middle-order problems further.
The 23-year-old wicketkeeper, whose IPL 2020 campaign was hampered by a hamstring issue, suffered an elbow injury from a Pat Cummins bouncer during the Sydney Test and was taken for scans. He braved the blow to play a stellar role in India’s fourth-innings fightback, but it’s unclear if the injury would affect his participation in the final Test.
The man who can do no wrong on the field, Jadeja created a lasting impact in the games he played but endured a combination of injuries all through the tour. During the first T20I, a hamstrung Jadeja was checked for a concussion after copping a bouncer, which ruled him out for the remainder of the series and the first Test. In the third Test, he was at the receiving end of another bouncer which dislocated his left thumb, ruling him out of the final game of the series. He is now likely to miss the first two home Tests against England.
Ashwin’s run-ins with injuries on overseas tours have extended to the current Australia visit as well. When Ashwin was grinding the home attack alongside Vihari in Sydney, his wife Prithi Narayanan tweeted about his existing back problems. There’s no official word on his injury from the BCCI so far, and it’s likely that he will play through it in Brisbane.
While the Adelaide collapse bruised many Indian hearts, it was Shami’s forearm that was the most unfortunate victim of Australia’s raging pace battery. His attempt to steer out of a Cummins delivery resulted in a fracture on his left arm, forcing him out of the remaining Tests.
With Shami injured, Umesh was supposed to play a pivotal role on his fourth tour to Australia around a much younger pace attack. However, a calf injury saw him hobble out of the second Test, and was ruled out of the remaining Tests, and was replaced in the squad by T Natarajan.
A day after India completed a remarkable rearguard effort in Sydney, forcing the Test to a draw, reports emerged that Bumrah, their pace spearhead, was suffering from an abdominal strain, and is likely to be rested for the fourth Test with the England series in mind. Another report indicated that he would take the field in Brisbane “even if 50 per cent fit”, although there has been no official word thus far.