India's woes in the fast bowling department just don't seem to end ahead of the big tour of Australia. If Zaheer Khan passing a fitness test in his two Ranji Trophy outings has come as a soothing balm after Praveen Kumar's loss, it was confirmed on Friday that young pace sensation Varun Aaron has been ruled out due to a back injury.
Aaron, touted as the fastest Indian bowler, created waves on his ODI and Test debuts, against England and West Indies, respectively. However, after the second ODI against the West Indies, he had been warming the bench.
Once it was confirmed in Indore on Thursday that his backache was due to a stress reaction, Aaron flew down to Pune, where his father has recently shifted, while the rest of the team arrived in Chennai for Sunday's last ODI.
It is learnt that the 22-year-old had told a member of the team management on the day of the second ODI in Visakhapatnam that his back was hurting. But the team management declined his request to rest and pushed him to play the game. Perhaps, the 10 overs he bowled in Visakhapatnam aggravated his injury and has forced him out of the series.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Friday that Karnataka bowler R Vinay Kumar will be Aaron's replacement for the Test series.
Vinay is one of the most consistent line and length bowlers in the country and has done enough in his limited opportunities in the 50-over format to deserve a Test call-up.
In fact, on the eve of the fourth ODI in Indore, when Vinay was asked about not being considered for Test matches, he had said he hoped to "soon" play in the longer version for India.
With India having sealed the series, the final ODI is in many ways a meaningless affair. And if it rains as it has been in Chennai recently, the match would indeed turn into a 'dead rubber'.