Team India's injury woes continue to rise as speedster Jasprit Bumrah is ruled out of the fourth Test at the Gabba in Brisbane due to an abdominal strain.
The 27-year-old sustained the injury during the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), and the Indian team management is unwilling to risk him for the series decider.
Jasprit Bumrah joins the long list of Indian pacers who are unavailable in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Injuries to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma during the IPL 2020 season had ruled the duo out of the Australia tour.
Mohammed Shami had suffered from a fractured wrist while trying to tackle a short ball from Pat Cummins in the first Test at the Adelaide Oval. As a result, he had been ruled out of the remainder of the series. Umesh Yadav will also play no part in the series as he pulled his calf muscle during the Boxing Day Test.
Thus, Jasprit Bumrah's injury means that Team India's full-strength pace attack, which was one of the main reasons for their Test series win Down Under in 2018-19, is now plagued with injuries.
The visitors also have significant absentees in the batting department, as their talisman Virat Kohli played only the first Test and then headed back to India for his paternity leave.
The heroes of the SCG draw - Hanuma Vihari and Ravindra Jadeja - have both been ruled out of the Brisbane Test due to a hamstring injury and a broken thumb respectively. KL Rahul also headed back to India after he suffered an injury during training.
Due to the strict COVID-19 restrictions, Team India cannot call for any replacements from back home. This puts them under severe pressure to select the best possible playing XI at the Gabba.
Jasprit Bumrah had taken 21 wickets in the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy and would have proved to be more than handy in Brisbane, where the pitch provides decent help for the pacers.
Although Jasprit Bumrah's absence is a body blow for the visitors, they will be hoping that his replacement in the XI makes an impact. Either Shardul Thakur or T Natarajan will replace the 27-year-old at the Gabba.
Thakur had made his Test debut for Team India back in 2018 against the West Indies, but had walked off the field due to an injury after bowling just 10 balls. He has been constantly in and out of the visitors' limited-over side. His ability to swing the ball can be handy for Team India.
T Natarajan, on the other hand, had a dream start to his international career, picking up eight wickets from his first four limited-over games. Who is more likely to replace Jasprit Bumrah at the Gabba? Can an inexperienced Indian pace attack cause problems for the hosts in Brisbane? Only time will tell.
Fans on Twitter lament Jasprit Bumrah's absence
Fans took to Twitter to express agony and disappointment due to Jasprit Bumrah's injury. Here is what they had to say: