Calcutta: India’s latest batting sensation Shikhar Dhawan was on Tuesday ruled out of the fourth and final Test against Australia starting at the Kotla on Friday.
The opener, who scored 187 on debut in Mohali, will be out of action for six weeks due to a fracture on his left hand which he sustained while fielding during the third Test.
The BCCI said in a statement that Gautam Gambhir, who was omitted from the initial squad for the four-match series due to a prolonged form slump, was included in the side but was also unavailable due to jaundice.
Suresh Raina has been included for the fourth Test.
“Shikhar Dhawan was ruled out of the fourth Test against Australia… after sustaining a fracture in his left hand. He will be out of action for six weeks,” the BCCI said in a statement.
“The all India senior selection committee then added Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina to the squad for the fourth Test. However, Gambhir has been diagnosed with jaundice, after undergoing a blood test, earlier today.
“The official announcement of the team was delayed, as the Board was waiting for the copy of report. Gambhir will not take part in Delhi Test, as a result,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale said in a release late on Tuesday.
Dhawan, who had smashed his way into the record books on Saturday by scoring the fastest-ever Test century on debut in India’s first innings against Australia in Mohali, would consider himself to be unlucky as he would miss a Test match in front of his home crowd.
Dhawan had injured his hand while trying to stop a Phillip Hughes square drive during Australia’s second innings. He did not field for the rest of the day and also did not bat during India’s chase.
Dhawan’s fracture, Gambhir’s illness and Virender Sehwag’s axing after the Hyderabad Test leave Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane as the only openers in the squad.
Vijay is the only India opener to have played in all three Tests so far, with hundreds in Hyderabad and Mohali. Rahane is yet to play a Test but looks most likely to partner Vijay in Delhi.
However, with Raina’s inclusion as a back-up batsman, it won’t be surprising if Cheteshwar Pujara opens, like he did in the second innings in Mohali, and Raina bats in the middle order, leaving no place for Rahane.
The last of Raina’s 17 Tests came against New Zealand in Bangalore in September 2012. He wasn’t part of the squad for the four Tests against England and the first three Tests against Australia.
In the Ranji season, Raina scored 304 runs in six games at an average of 33.77, although he did make 134 and 71 in the Irani Cup game against Mumbai last month.
Gambhir’s illness also puts him in doubt for the early stages of IPL-VI. The Kolkata Knight Riders won the title under his leadership last season. The IPL-VI begins on April 3.