Bhuvneshwar Kumar India New Zealand
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in happier times, celebrates a wicket in the second Test match, October 1, 2016Reuters

Bhuvneshwar Kumar will miss the final Test against New Zealand through injury, with Shardul Thakur called in as back-up. India have already won the three-match Test series 2-0, with the third Test set to begin in Indore on Saturday.

One of the best bowlers in the second Test match, after he was picked ahead of Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar went on to take six wickets in total, which included a five-for in the first innings.

The swing bowler has developed into a consistent, reliable and wicket-taking option over the past year or so, and not just when the pitches are conducive to his style of bowling. The increase in pace makes Bhuvneshwar a much more potent bowler and Virat Kohli will miss his services for the final Test match.

However, with a long season ahead, getting a rest and not having to play a Test match when the series outcome is already decided might prove to be a blessing in disguise. Bhuvneshwar was ruled out by a back strain, picked up during that second Test match in Kolkata.

Shardul Thakur will hope he gets an opportunity in Indore, having sat out the entire West Indies series. After being selected in the India squad, the Mumbai pacer did not get to play a single game, pushing his hopes for a debut to another day.

With Umesh Yadav in the squad, it is likely that Shardul will have to wait a little while longer, unless the wicket in Indore is one that suits the fast bowler's strengths.

India have had to deal with a few injuries in this series, with KL Rahul being replaced by Gautam Gambhir and then Shikhar Dhawan, a couple of days back, having to pull out due to a thumb injury. Karun Nair was called up as the left-hander's replacement.

With the Test series signed, sealed and delivered, it will be interesting to see if Kohli and coach Anil Kumble decide to give some of the players who have watched from the sidelines an opportunity to impress.