INDIA’S already fragile hopes of fending off England’s bid to steal their world No1 Test ranking took a further blow yesterday with the news that neither Yuvraj Singh or Harbhajan Singh will play any further part in the series.
Yuvraj, a mainstay in India’s World Cup winning one-day side, initially made an encouraging return to the Test team, standing in for Gautam Gambhir, after a year out with a first innings knock of 62.
But he struggled badly in the face of a barrage of short stuff from Tim Bresnan second time around. And the broken finger the all-rounder sustained shortly before he was bounced out by the Yorkshireman will rule him out of the final two Tests and part of the subsequent one-day series.
Meanwhile, spinner Harbhajan, the world’s leading active wicket-taker, has cut a sorry looking figure during the opening two Tests and his performances have drawn stinging criticism back in India.
But it transpired Harbhajan’s effectiveness has been hindered by bowling through the pain of what has been diagnosed as a grade one lower abdominal tear, which will prevent him playing for the next three weeks.
The Board Of Control For Cricket In India said: “Yuvraj Singh has fractured his left index finger, and Harbhajan Singh has an abdominal muscle strain.
“While Yuvraj Singh’s injury may take around four weeks to recover, Harbhajan Singh is likely to recover in three weeks’ time.”
The pair will be replaced by left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha and batsman Virat Kohli, who have played just 14 Tests between them.
India are hopeful, however, that their main strike bowler Zaheer Khan will return from the hamstring strain that kept him out of the Nottingham defeat, while destructive opening batsman Virender Sehwag will link up with the squad today having undergone successful surgery on his damaged shoulder.