India are forced to make two changes to their Playing XI in the second Test against Sri Lanka starting in Nagpur on Friday (November 24) as Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan were released due to "personal reasons".
The opening Test of the three-match rubber ended in an exciting draw at Kolkata's Eden Gardens on Monday (November 20). Bhuvneshwar was the star of the match with his exceptional bowling (eight wickets), that earned him the Man-of-the-match award.
Also read: Who is Vijay Shankar?
Now, India will be without their key bowler. He has opted out of the remaining two Tests due to his marriage. Tamil Nadu's rookie all-rounder Vijay Shankar was named as his replacement. However, there was no new player in place of Dhawan, who will return to the squad for the final Test in Delhi.
While Murali Vijay is an automatic choice to fill Dhawan's spot at the top of the order, captain Virat Kohli and the team management will have to think of a suitable replacement for Bhuvneshwar.
The Uttar Pradesh right-arm paceman will obviously be missed in the rest of the series. He has done very well in all formats of the game.
The team management will have to see the pitch conditions and then decide whether to go in for a like-for-like replacement in a paceman or a spinner.
The 22-yard surface in Kolkata had come in for high praise for producing a good contest even after a loss of lot of time due to rain. India came within three wickets of registering victory but were denied by bad light on the fifth and final day.
Nagpur's Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium might not provide the same greenish pitch for the teams. According to reports, the surface may assist spinners from the third day.
In such a scenario, India might play a third spinner in Kuldeep Yadav. The left-arm chinaman bowler has had resonable success in the recent past across formats. He played a Test in Sri Lanka too where he claimed five wickets in the match at Pallekele.
If India have to go in for a seam option then Ishant Sharma will get the nod. While Ishant and Kuldeep are the favourites to replace Bhuvneshwar, uncapped Shankar's chances are slim.
However, with Shankar being an all-rounder who can bowl medium-pace, Kohli and the team management might spring a surprise by including him.
The answer will be known in two days' time.
India squad for the second Test: Virat Kohli (captain), KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Vijay Shankar.