Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey ©PTI Photo by Shailendra Bhojak

After release of Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and injury of regular wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, team India face more injury issues just ahead of the fourth test, starting on 8th December in Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.

A BCCI release stated, middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane will miss the fourth and the fifth test match of the series against England and would no longer be a part of the squad for the remainder of series. Manish Pandey, the uncapped Karnataka batsman, has been added to the squad as a replacement for Rahane for final two tests.

The BCCI also stated, owing to Mohammed Shami’s knee injury (who played through the Mohali match with a sore knee), Mumbai’s regular Ranji paceman Shardul Thakur has been added to the squad as a back-up for Shami.

Pandey and Thakur had to be pulled out of ongoing Ranji Trophy matches and flown to Mumbai, as the fourth test commences tomorrow. Pandey was playing an ongoing match  against Maharashtra in Mohali, and Shardul Thakur against Punjab in Rajkot. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is likely to be the first-choice replacement in the team for Shami, while Karun Nair is expected to take Rahane’s position.

In a press release on Wednesday, the BCCI stated that Rahane had been struck on the right index finger during a practice session and “sustained an avulsion fracture” and that he would play no further role in the series. Whereas, Shami’s fitness is still being monitored and the final call on his inclusion in XI would be taken on the match morning itself.

This is the maiden test call for Pandey. Having played twelve ODIs and six T20s, Pandey was always a prospect middle-order batsman for tests. Pandey has featured in 79 first-class matches and averages 49.28 along with sixteen centuries. Apparently, Rahane has had a dry patch and hasn’t been among runs. He managed to score only 63 odd runs in five innings he played in the series at an average of 12.60.

Thakur, was a part of the 17-man squad who went for West Indies, but failed to get an opportunity to make his debut. He has enjoyed fair success in the ongoing Ranji season claiming 13 wickets in six matches.

India are leading the 5 match series 2-0 and will look to win the series in the fourth test match commencing on 8th December in Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium.

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