The New Year has brought mixed fortunes for India. After losing to Sri Lanka in the tri-series final, a win over Bangladesh in Tests and the return to form of Ishant Sharma have been some of the positives for the visitors.
But injuries to key players, especially Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, S Sreesanth and Yuvraj Singh before the series against South Africa, would peg them back slightly.
Both Yuvraj and Sreesanth are doubtful for the Test in Nagpur from February 6.
The loss of Ashish Nehra to an ankle injury during the tri-series final was the first in a series of injuries.
Skipper MS Dhoni had to miss the first Test in Chittagong with a back spasm along with Harbhajan Singh (stiff neck). Both came back in the second Test, but Laxman and Sreesanth had to go back.
Laxman injured his finger while fielding and got 10 stitches but is likely to play in the first Test. However, Sreesanth, who tore his left hamstring while bowling on the final day of the Chittagong Test, remains doubtful for the inaugural Test against the Proteas.
Dravid, who was hospitalised after getting hit on the face by a Shahadat Hossain bouncer on Monday, was discharged on Tuesday morning and is likely to go home on Wednesday. Hospital sources said he has a fracture in the zygomatic arch (cheek bone that holds the sinus) and, had the ball hit him two inches above (the temporal bone area) it could have been serious.
Yuvraj has a torn cartilage in his left wrist and is virtually out of the Nagpur Test. He was gearing up to come in at No. 11 if Dhoni ran out of partners before scoring his century. Eventually, he was spared the agony as the skipper fell on 89.
“Rahul needs to see a specialist to make a decision on his condition. Yuvi’s got a torn cartilage in his wrist and would be out for a while after this game,” coach Gary Kirsten said, voicing concerns about the team composition against South Africa.
“You want to have your full-strength side for South Africa. So, we are in a bit of a concern. But you can’t fight injuries, so we will have to wait and see the status of everyone else before the series,” he said.