Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha was expected to recover from what was perceived as a minor thumb injury in time for the upcoming five-Test series in England.
However, it has emerged now that the 33-year-old is nursing a career-threatening shoulder injury after a clumsily-handled rehabilitation programme at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
A top Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) pointed fingers at the NCA physio for Saha's situation. The source also said it is hard to put a date on his comeback.
Saha facing a long stint on sidelines
The 33-year-old, who had been India's first-choice stumper since MS Dhoni's retirement from Tests, will now undergo a surgery in the UK and is likely to be ruled out of the Australia tour later this year, let alone the England Tests.
He was not picked in the 18-man squad for the England Tests but the apex body of Indian cricket did not reveal the extent of his injury.
Saha had suffered the shoulder injury during India's three-Test series in South Africa earlier this year. Notably, the Bengal wicketkeeper continued playing as it was only a niggle at that point of time.
Nonetheless, Saha missed the third and final Test in the Rainbow Nation owing to a hamstring injury.
Saha returned to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but missed a few games for Sunrisers Hyderabad due to the shoulder niggle and a finger injury towards the business end of the tournament.
'Saha won't be able to touch a bat two months after the impending surgery'
"Wriddhiman's rehabilitation has been a complete goof up. The NCA physio has bungled it big time," the BCCI official told The Press Trust of India.
"Now only a surgery can put him back on track. Once he is done with surgery, he will not touch the bat for at least two months and then rehab will start
"Saha first sustained a shoulder injury during the tour of South Africa while taking a catch. But it was a niggle that didn't bother him. He left SA tour because of hamstring trouble and not shoulder pain though.
"Now since keepers don't need to throw from deep, so during IPL, Wriddhi didn't bother and played with that injury. But the pain didn't go away.
"He thought that possibly he could play against England with a good rehab at NCA and take it from there. But at NCA, training under a senior physio aggravated it further."
Following the poorly-handled rehabilitation, it is being asked if the physio, who was part of Indian team's support staff, report the extent of injury.
Even Amitabh Chaudhury, the convenor of the selection committee, was informed about the actual injury, the report adds.
Saha came up with an emotional post on Twitter and said he hoped to come back strong from the ongoing "bad phase".
Meanwhile, Dinesh Karthik is expected to carry out the wicketkeeping duties for Team India in England. 20-year-old Rishabh Pant was handed a maiden Test call-up as well.