Wriddhiman Saha will not be available for India for the third Test match against England after a thigh strain ruled him out of the game in Mohali. Parthiv Patel was named as the replacement for the first-choice wicketkeeper.
A 16-man squad for the final three Test matches against England was only named on Tuesday, but with Saha picking up the injury, the selectors decided to call in Parthiv.
It is a bit of a gamble to take, considering Parthiv last played a Test match eight years ago and last donned any kind of India colours nearly five years back.
However, strong performances in the domestic circuit – he has scored three half-centuries and a hundred this season – have given the wicketkeeper-batsman an opportunity to make his case for a longer inclusion in the India squad.
"As a precautionary measure, Saha has been advised rest and will not play in the next Test match of the series," BCCI said in a release. "Parthiv Patel will replace Saha in the Indian team for the third Test."
Saha has not had the greatest of times in this series against England so far. He dropped Ben Stokes twice in the first Test, with the left-hander going on to make a hundred, while the same batsman was given another life in the second match, when the India wicketkeeper failed to complete a stumping.
The 32-year-old hasn't contributed enough with the bat either, making scores of 35, 9, 3 and 2, so if Parthiv makes a real impression with the gloves and with the bat, there might be a case for the left-hander to be considered for the remaining two Test matches as well.
While that remains unlikely – Virat Kohli has repeatedly said Saha deserves a long run in the team – Parthiv will know he must take this chance, if he is to stay in and around the India squad.
Apart from Parthiv, the other players under consideration would have been Naman Ojha, who played in Sri Lanka when Saha was injured, Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant, who has been in terrific form this season.
Parthiv, who last played a Test in August 2008 against Sri Lanka in Colombo, when he made scores of 13 and 1, averages 29.69 in 20 matches. His last international match, an ODI, was also against Sri Lanka – in February 2012 in Brisbane.
The third Test in Mohali starts from Saturday.