India suffered major injury blows just before the start of their New Zealand tour as opener Shikhar Dhawan has been ruled out of the entire limited-overs leg while pacer Ishant Sharma is set to miss the Test series.
Dhawan had dislocated his left shoulder while fielding in the third ODI against Australia in Bengaluru. Ishant, on the other hand, was declared unfit for the Tests starting February 21 owing to a tear in his right ankle, he suffered during a Ranji Trophy game on Monday (20th January 2020).
Wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson replaced Dhawan in the T20 Internationals while comeback-man Prithvi Shaw got his maiden selection call-up in the ODI squad in place of the senior opener.
Dhawan had just started to get back to form, scoring 52 against Sri Lanak in the Pune T20 and hitting impact knocks of 74 and 96 against Australia in the just-concluded ODI series.
"An MRI of his (Dhawan's) shoulder was conducted, and the results have confirmed a grade II injury of his acromio-clavicular joint. His hand will be in a sling and he has been advised rest for some time. He will start his active rehab management in the first week of February at the National Cricket Academy," the BCCI said in a media release.
Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) general secretary Vinod Tihara shared Ishant's fitness status.
"Ishant Sharma's MRI report shows a Grade 3 ankle tear and it is serious. He has been advised six weeks of rest and rehabilitation. It is indeed a big blow. Six weeks is the maximum but a minimum three weeks is must," Tihara told PTI.
Samson is the designated reserve opener in T20 set-up in case one among Dhawan, KL Rahul or Rohit Sharma gets injured or takes a break.
Similarly, Prithvi since his comeback from ban has been in great form and even overcame a shoulder injury to score a career-best List A score of 150 in a warm-up game against New Zealand XI.
India will play five T20 Internationals, three ODIs and two Tests during the tour starting with the shortest format on January 24.
Dhawan's injury troubles have carried into the new year and he did not come out to open during the successful run chase against Australia on Sunday. The southpaw was taken for an MRI after he hurt his left shoulder during fielding at the Chinnaswamy Stadim on Sunday.
K L Rahul came out to bat in his place alongside Rohit Sharma. Dhawan was seen wearing a sling on his left hand.
The 34-year-old Dhawan did not take the field for the entire duration of the Australian innings in the second ODI after a Pat Cummins bouncer hit him on the rib cage while batting. Dhawan missed the entire limited overs series against West Indies last month.
He also had to pull out of the 2019 World Cup due to a fractured thumb, an injury he suffered against Australia. In the same game, he had scored a match-winning hundred.
Ishant, playing for Delhi, had twisted his ankle on his follow through appeal while bowling against Vidarbha on Monday. The statement on his fitness came from the DDCA but the Indian cricket board is yet to issue any update on his injury.
"It's a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in BCCI as we will again do his MRI to ascertain degree of tear and decide on his rehabilitation," a BCCI source said.
Fellow Delhi pacer Navdeep Saini is likely to replace the 96-Test veteran in the squad.
Ishant was in the middle of his second Ranji Trophy this season, having played the opening home game against Hyderabad last month.
The 31-year-old is an integral part of arguably India's best ever pace attack comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav.
Meanwhile, flamboyant all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who had recently failed a fitness test, was not considered for the New Zealand tour.
It is understood that Pandya is not ready for international cricket and will now have to play at least one domestic game for Baroda before being considered for a national comeback.
Pandya recently flunked the bowling workload monitoring test, which is one of the mandatory requirements after coming back from a back surgery.
India’s T20I squad: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Sanju Samson, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur
India’s ODI squad: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma (VC), Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant (WK), Shivam Dube, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Kedar Jadhav