In another ill-timed fitness issue for India, Deepak Chahar
has been ruled out of the final two ODIs against South Africa with a stiff back. Spin-bowling allrounder Washington Sundar
was brought in as a replacement.
A BCCI media release said Chahar would head to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, where he would be monitored by the medical team. The extent of the injury or the timeline for recovery is yet to be ascertained. Chahar had returned to competitive cricket only two months ago, after a six-month injury break that included back trouble.
His issue gains greater significance given India play their first T20 World Cup game in Australia on October 23, and have already lost pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah
to injury. They are yet to name a replacement for Bumrah, but Chahar was one of two fast bowlers named in the reserves, along with Mohammed Shami.
Chahar was set to fly to Australia at the end of the South Africa series along with other reserve players. The World Cup squad has already flown out, to Perth, for a short training camp. They currently have seamers Chetan Sakariya
and Mukesh Choudhary
with them as net bowlers in Perth, where they will be based over the next week or so before travelling to Brisbane for warm-up fixtures against Australia and New Zealand.
The selectors are likely to announce Bumrah’s replacement, widely tipped to be Shami, over the next two days. Shami is currently undergoing post-Covid rehab in Bengaluru, where he is believed to have undergone mandated cardiovascular tests before being passed fit.
This injury is the latest setback for Chahar this year. First, he tore a quadricep muscle during India’s T20Is against West Indies in February. Then, he picked up a back issue while undergoing rehab for the quad injury at the NCA. He missed the IPL
that followed, and did not play again until India’s tour of Zimbabwe in August.
Washington himself is working his way back to full match fitness. He will make a return to competitive cricket after two months, having injured his shoulder during his stint with English county side Lancashire in August. He had to drop out of
the Zimbabwe series due to that injury, and last played for India in the West Indies series in February, when he picked up a hamstring strain
. During the IPL, he had issues with a split webbing. He had also caught Covid-19
India trail South Africa in the ODIs 1-0, so both remaining games are must-wins for them. Chahar had sat out the first ODI, in Lucknow, as well. The second and third ODIs will be played in Ranchi and Delhi on Sunday and Tuesday respectively. Washington is the second spin bowling allrounder in the squad, alongside the uncapped Shahbaz Ahmed.
Updated India ODI squad: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer (vice-capt), Rajat Patidar, Rahul Tripathi, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar