Untimely injuries to Ravindra Jadeja and K L Rahul have given a major selection headache to India as they seek to bounce back in the second Test against England, following a rare defeat at home.
Both Jadeja and Rahul were among India’s main performers in the first innings of the Hyderabad Test before England turned the tables on the formidable hosts.
Jadeja sustained a hamstring injury while going for a quick single during the Hyderabad Test while Rahul has complained of pain in his right quadriceps.
The duo’s unavailability adds to the woes of the home side, which was clearly stunned by England’s ‘Bazball’ strategy.
Jadeja, with his exceptional all-round abilities, makes himself almost irreplaceable and Rahul too has been among India’s standout batters across the ODI and Test format since returning from a surgery in September.
Virat Kohli remains unavailable due to personal reasons and after a shock reverse in the series opener, the management will be missing him even more in Visakhapatnam where the second Test begins on Friday.
Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid have enough options to choose from with selectors adding three players to the squad — Sarfaraz Khan, Sourabh Kumar and Washington Sundar.
A straightforward selection will be Rajat Patidar, who was also a part of the 15 in Hyderabad. He could take Rahul’s place in the middle-order with Kuldeep Yadav replacing Jadeja as the third spinner alongside R Ashwin and Axar Patel.
Another option for India is to do what England did in the opener, play only one pacer for four spin choices.
In that case, Mohammed Siraj could make way for Kuldeep and the team can accommodate either Sarfaraz Khan or Washington to solidify the middle-order.
Sourabh, who also bowls left-arm spin like Jadeja and is a decent batter with a couple of first-class hundreds to his name, can be a dark horse in that race.