Middle order batsman Karun Nair from Karnataka has been drafted into India’s Test side for the last match of the series against New Zealand in Indore starting from October 8, as a replacement for the injured Shikhar Dhawan. India already have opener Gautam Gambhir waiting in the wings to step into Dhawan’s shoes, and the Delhi captain is expected to make the playing XI for the last Test.
“The All-India Senior Selection Committee have named batsman Karun Nair as the replacement for injured opener Shikhar Dhawan in the Indian team," BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke said in a statement.
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The 24-year-old Nair has been called up as a replacement in India’s Test side before, in Sri Lanka last year. He had not been played then, and his role is set to be similarly limited in the current series, owing to Gambhir already being in the side. Nair was part of India A’s One day and 4-day tour of Australia recently and was one of the few players from the squad to feature in both formats. He has played 2 ODIs already, managing a highest score of 39.
Dhawan has been ruled out of the third Test after suffering a thumb injury. It has been diagnosed that he is out for 15 days, and may make a comeback in the ODI series that is to follow. While facing Trent Boult in the second innings, Dhawan got hit on his left thumb twice, dropping his bat and walking away and wincing in pain for a while on Day 3. He did continue to bat despite the pain, to be dismissed for a score of 17.
After he complained of persisting pain on his return to the dressing room, he was taken to a local hospital for an x-ray. He was advised a 15-day rest to heal the crack in his thumb that was diagnosed. He did not take the field on Day 4 of the Eden Test and Gambhir fielded for the entire day in his place.
The comeback man, who is also the captain of the IPL franchise of the city in which the 2nd Test was being played, got some shouts of ‘KKR, KKR’ during Day 4 from the stands when standing in the outfield. He is set to return to the top of India’s batting order with Murali Vijay when Indore hosts its first Test next week, while Nair gets an assisting role.