Southampton: Ishant Sharma’s absence in the third Test was felt dearly by India en route their 266-run defeat against England and things stand to get worse in the crucial fourth Test at Manchester beginning August 7.
It has emerged that paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar is battling an injured ankle. However, a team source told mid-day that Bhuvneshwar’s injury is not as serious as Ishant’s and he should be able to make it in time for the Test at Old Trafford.
Bhuvneshwar was seen walking with an ice-pack wrapped around his ankle after the game. Just in case Bhuvi is unable to be fit, India will have to choose from the duo of Varun Aaron and Ishwar Pandey. Neither of the pacers have featured in a Test in this series.
The UP seamer, who has 15 wickets apart from 228 runs in the series, has so far bowled 124.5 overs (only second to left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja's 142.3 overs) might have been a bit "tired", according to skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
"I think, Bhuvi seemed to be a bit tired," Dhoni told reporters at the post-match conference. "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," Dhoni added.
Team in Manchester
Meanwhile, the Indian team reached Manchester yesterday afternoon minus their skipper MS Dhoni and opener Gautam Gambhir. The duo stayed back in Southampton owing to the hearing that England paceman James Anderson was undergoing for his role in his altercation with Ravindra Jadeja in the first Test at Nottingham.
(With Agency Inputs)