If that wasn’t enough, Mayank Agarwal -- tipped to be Hanuma Vihari’s replacement in the playing eleven in Brisbane -- has sustained a knock on the hands. To make matters worse, Ravichandran Ashwin’s back spasms have aggravated after battling for three hours on the final day of the third Test, leaving little options for India on the bench.
Bumrah, key to India’s attack, sustained the strain during the drawn third Test in Sydney. It has been learnt that Bumrah’s scan reports showed a strain and the India team management does not want him to aggravate the injury, keeping in mind the upcoming four-Test series against England.
“Bumrah suffered an abdominal strain while fielding in Sydney. He is going to sit out the Brisbane Test, but is expected to be available against England,” a BCCI source revealed.
While the management is heaving a sigh of relief that Bumrah hasn’t sustained a tear, it wants to be on the side of caution as playing in Brisbane and breaking down in the middle of the Test match could have a more adverse effect on the team.
“In case we take the risk of him playing at 50 per cent in the fourth Test, what if the injury aggravates and he breaks down in the middle of the match and then gets ruled out for the better part of the England series?
“England is the last series which will decide the qualification for the World Test Championship final. We are in contention and would require a fit Bumrah,” added the source.
Two-Test old Mohammed Siraj could lead the India attack and may be joined by Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur and Thangarasu Natarajan in the Brisbane Test match, starting January 15 at the Gabba.
After injured KL Rahul’s departure and Hanuma Vihari’s grade 2 tear, there are no back-up middle-order batsman left in the India reserves. The only two available batsmen are out-of-form openers Prithvi Shaw and Agarwal.
It remains to be seen if India decides to take the conservative route of playing four bowlers and six batsmen with Rishabh Pant as the wicketkeeper. If Agarwal’s scans reveal that it is a bruise and not a fracture, then it could well be Prithvi Shaw batting at number three followed by Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Agarwal himself at number six.
If India goes with five bowlers, then the collective experience of the pace attack will be four Test matches.