Injured Vihari out of last Test; Shardul likely in place of Jadeja

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PTI

New Delhi

India’s injury woes in the Test series against Australia compounded on Monday after the hero of their drawn game in Sydney, Hanuma Vihari, was ruled out of the fourth and final match with a hamstring tear that could keep him out of action for a considerable time.

It has been learnt that Vihari was taken for scans after the match got over and the reports are expected latest by Tuesday morning. However, a BCCI source confirmed that Vihari is unlikely to be fit in time for the next Test match starting in another three days’ time.

“The extent of Vihari’s tear can only be ascertained after the scan reports come through. But even if it’s a grade 1 tear, he is out for at least four weeks and then will need some rehabilitation time. So it’s not only Brisbane Test but also, he won’t be a part of England Tests at home,” a senior source revealed on Monday.

In another important development, Shardul Thakur, with way more first-class experience and better batting abilities compared to rookie Thangarsu Natarajan, is likely to replace an injured Ravindra Jadeja in Brisbane on a track that is supposed to be the bounciest of the series.

The BCCI confirmed that Jadeja will not be available for the Brisbane Test starting on Friday.

With Jadeja being ruled out, the Indian team will have no option but to play one among Shardul and Natarajan with the former being the favourite at the moment.

Shardul was also in contention to play the second Test of his career in Sydney but Navdeep Saini’s pace on a placid track became a clincher.

As far as Vihari’s replacement is concerned, the team only has two options — either to play Wriddhiman Saha as a wicketkeeper and Rishabh Pant purely as a batsman or bring in Mayank Agarwal as a middle-order batsman who can take on the second new ball.