West Indies v India, 2016: Murali Vijay ruled out of the second Test in Jamaica
Indian opener has not yet recovered fully from a thumb injury
In what could be a significant blow to India ahead of the second Test against West Indies, Murali Vijay has been ruled out out of the match due to a thumb injury. The opening batsman was struck on his right thumb while attempting to fend a rising delivery from Shannon Gabriel in the preceding game at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.
Being the reserve opener in the squad, KL Rahul is likely to partner Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order. With the pitch at Sabina Park expected to have a thick grass cover, the visitors might miss Vijay’s solidity against the new-ball.
One of the most experienced batsmen in the team, Vijay has played 38 Tests and scored 2637 runs at an average of 40.56 with six centuries and twelve fifties. A crucial component of the Indian batting lineup, he injured his thumb in the first-innings at Antigua and did not take the field for the rest of the opening match which India went on win by an innings & 92 runs.
When the Tamil Nadu cricketer had faced fitness issues in the 2015 series in Sri Lanka, Rahul replaced him during the first Test at Galle. The 24-year old has two tons to his name from five matches in the longest format.
He made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe last month and smashed an unbeaten hundred in Harare. However, the conditions in Jamaica is predicted to be quite different with West Indies adding uncapped tear away Alzarri Joseph to the mix in order to take advantage of the bouncy surface.
Having taken a 1-0 lead in the 4-match series, India would be keen on continuing their five-bowler theory. During their previous two trips to the Caribbean in 2006 and 2011, they had won both Tests at the venue.