Harbhajan, Yuvraj ruled out of series


India on Wednesday suffered a twin blow when Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh were ruled out of the remaining two Tests of the four-match series against England due to injuries. Off-spinner Harbhajan and all-rounder Yuvraj, who suffered the injuries during the second Test at Trent Bridge, were replaced with middle-order batsman Virat Kohli and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha.
“Yuvraj has fractured his left index finger and Harbhajan has a Grade I abdominal muscle strain,” Indian cricket board secretary N. Srinivasan said in a statement. “While Yuvraj’s injury may take around four weeks to recover, Harbhajan is likely to recover in three weeks’ time. “The selection committee has picked Virat Kohli and Pragyan Ojha as their replacements. Both players will join the Indian team at the earliest.”
The third Test starts in Edgbaston on August 10 and the last match at the Oval on August 18. Harbhajan, struggling on the tour, took just two wickets in the opening two matches while Yuvraj, who scored a half-century in the first innings of the second Test, was struck on the finger while batting in the second innings. The double blow came at a time when India were sweating over the fitness of ace paceman Zaheer Khan, who bowled just 13.3 overs in the first innings of the opening Test at Lord’s before suffering a hamstring injury.
He was ruled out of the second Test. Hard-hitting Indian opener Virender Sehwag, recovering from a shoulder injury, also missed the opening two matches but was set to join the squad on Wednesday for the remaining two Tests. Opener Gautam Gambhir, forced to miss the second Test due to an elbow injury, is expected to return for the third match. India, trailing 2-0 in the ongoing series following their defeats in the first two Tests, will cede their Test number one status to England if they lose the third match. Ojha, who played his last Test against New Zealand at home in 2010, has so far bagged 42 wickets in 11 matches while Kohli has scored 76 runs in three Tests. India will also play a one-off Twenty20 match and five one-day internationals after the Test series.