Ruturaj Gaikwad ruled out of India’s Tests against South Africa due to finger injury; Abhimanyu Easwaran named replacement

 - Sakshi Post

Centurion, Dec 23 (IANS) Opener Ruturaj Gaikwad has been ruled out of India’s upcoming two- match Test series against South Africa because of a finger injury. Abhimanyu Easwaran, who is currently in South Africa as part of the India A squad, has been named as Gaikwad’s replacement.

Gaikwad had picked up the injury to his right ring finger while fielding during India’s second ODI against South Africa in Gqeberha. BCCI said Gaikwad underwent scans, and following an expert consultation, the Medical Team has ruled him out of the remainder of the tour. Gaikwad will be reporting to the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru for further management of his injury.

Easwaran, the prolific opener for Bengal, had earlier been a part of India’s Test tour of Bangladesh last year as a replacement for injured captain Rohit Sharma. A regular with the India ‘A’ side, Easwaran was named as one of five standby players in India's Test squad for their home series against England in 2021.

He was also named as one of four standby players in India's Test squad for the final of the 2021 ICC World Test Championship and for the team’s away series against England later in the year.

With Rohit and Yashasvi Jaiswal as the first-choice opening pair for the series opener starting on Boxing Day (December 26) in Centurion, Easwaran will be captaining India A in the second four-day match against South Africa A, beginning also on the same day at the at Willowmoore Park in Benoni. He is expected to link up with the Test team ahead of Cape Town Test happening from January 3-7, 2024.

BCCI further said it has added Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Avesh Khan & Rinku Singh to Easwaran-led India A’s squad for the four-day match against South Africa 'A', while fast bowler Harshit Rana has been ruled out owing to a hamstring injury and Kuldeep Yadav released from the squad.

The South Africa tour is India's second series of the 2023-2025 World Test Championship cycle, after winning the two-Test series in West Indies in July by 1-0. The last time India played a Test series in South Africa was in December 2021-January 2022.

At that time, India won the first Test in Centurion, before South Africa bounced back to win matches in Johannesburg and Cape Town to eventually claim the series 2-1, thus increasing the visitors’ search for a first-ever Test series win in the country.

India had been practising in Pretoria for the Test series against South Africa and even played a three-day intra-squad practice match under the eyes of Rahul Dravid-led support staff. Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (recently led India to 2-1 ODI series win) and Jasprit Bumrah will be returning to playing Test cricket after a long time due to dealing with various injuries.

India’s updated Test squad: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Abhimanyu Easwaran, KL Rahul (wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Mohd. Siraj, Mukesh Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah (VC), Prasidh Krishna, KS Bharat (wk)

India A’s updated squad for four-day match against SA A: Abhimanyu Easwaran (C), Sai Sudharsan, Rajat Patidar, Sarfaraz Khan, Tilak Varma, Dhruv Jurel (wk), Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Avesh Khan, Navdeep Saini, Akash Deep, Vidhwath Kaverappa, Manav Suthar, Rinku Singh

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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