On Thursday, the England team thrashed the listless Indian side by 226 runs on the fifth day of the 3rd Test to level the five match Test series 1-1. Indian cricket team’s performance has been marred by injuries in the past. A similar fate looms ahead of the fourth test beginning 7th August. It has been confirmed that the in-form bowler Ishant Sharma won’t be available for the fourth test due to his ankle injury. The Indian team missed the senior bowler in the third test allowing England to reach a massive score of 569 in the first innings and now there are growing concerns surrounding Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has a swollen ankle and is doubtful for the 4th Test match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
This is the first long series for the young Indian bowlers and the effects are showing up significantly. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has already bowled 125 overs in the first three test matches and this could be the main reason for his injury. “I think, Bhuvi seemed to be a bit tired,” Captain M.S. Dhoni said. “But he came back nicely after that first spell. But I thought he was slightly on the shorter side. He got the right length in the first two Tests, but here he was slightly short. Apart from that I am quite happy with the effort put in by fast bowlers. It was a different kind of wicket, where you have to hit the deck hard to get some purchase. That’s where I found Pankaj very impressive. He is a tall guy and got a fair amount of bounce and was unlucky not to get a few wickets. Overall I am happy with him.”
M.S. Dhoni might not officially blame himself for Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s injury but many people think he was at fault. Pakistan’s bowling legend Wasim Akram said during Day 2 of the 2nd test match “If you give him these many overs on the trot you will finish him off before the series ends. He already looks tired”.
It’s a proven fact that Indian bowlers are never known for their fitness abilities. Fitness issues surrounding the two best bowlers in the Indian squad could be a nightmare for M.S. Dhoni as well as for the team. While Pankaj Singh and Mohammad Shami are trying to make up, but there’s lot more scope of improvement.
This fitness story is no different from the 2011 India vs England series, where India shamefully lost 4-0. The key players who missed a part of the series were Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. If these players had been fit for the entire series, the outcome could have been different.
Another big news which came up recently was the injury of wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha who is now being replaced by in-form Naman Ojha. According to the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association, Ojha is expected to leave for England by August 4 to join the squad for the fourth Test. However chances of him playing the upcoming match are quite slim, although if he gets a chance to play in England, it would be his debut Test.
With the series leveled at 1-1, India needs to come back strongly keeping aside the injury issues. The upcoming match could well be the deciding factor of the Investec Test Series.