Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Dinesh Karthik has replaced injured wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha for the historic one-off Test against Afghanistan, scheduled between June 14 and 18 in Bengaluru.
Saha has failed to recover in time from a thumb injury he had suffered during the Qualifier 2 of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 in Kolkata. The Sunrisers Hyderabad stumper played only 11 out of the 17 matches the team played in the recently-concluded season.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said on Saturday, June 2, that Saha is expected to fully recover from the injury in "five to six weeks."
The Bengal wicketkeeper has been India's first-choice ever since Dhoni's retirement from the longer formats in 2014. He is expected to rejoin the squad ahead of India's five-Test series in England, starting August 1.
Mr. Wriddhiman Saha has been ruled out of the one-off Paytm Test against Afghanistan to be held in Bengaluru from the 14th of June, 2018. Saha suffered an injury to his right thumb while playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the VIVO IPL Qualifier 2 against Kolkata Knight Riders on 25th May, 2018 at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata," the BCCI release said.
He was under observation by the medical staff of the BCCI and the management has decided to give him adequate rest before the start of the England Test series. Saha's recovery period is expected to be around five to six weeks.
Deserved return to the Test squad
Karthik has deservedly sealed a place in the Indian Test squad ahead of backup wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel following his consistent performances in limited-overs in the recent past.
The KKR captain slammed 498 runs at 49.80 in 16 matches in IPL 2018, leading his e to the playoffs.
Ever since making his ODI comeback in 2017, Karthik has gone on to score 183 runs in eight matches at an impressive average of 61. The stumper's match-winning knock in the final of a T20I tri-series in Sri Lanka — Nidahas Trophy earlier this year earned him a lot of praise as well.
Karthik can also prove to be a good backup option for India in case Saha fails to recover in time for the all-important England series. Notably, the right-hander slammed 263 runs in three matches during India's tour of England in 2007.
The 33-year-old made his Test debut as early as 2004 but failed to cement a place in the side. He has played only 23 Tests so far and has not featured in the Indian Test side since January 2010.