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More problems for injured, depleted India

It was not exactly a smooth landing for World Cup winning skipper MS Dhoni as he took over the reins of the Indian team for the Tests in West Indies.

cricket Updated: Jun 19, 2011 00:10 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

It was not exactly a smooth landing for World Cup winning skipper MS Dhoni as he took over the reins of the Indian team for the Tests in West Indies.

Back-up seamer Abhimanyu Mithun will not be available for selection for the first Test starting on Monday as he will arrive only on that day, according to a team insider. The Karnataka bowler could not travel with the team reportedly due to a delay in getting the visa.

The delay could cause a lot of anxiety because Munaf Patel has looked unfit. He did not bowl in the first nets for the Test squad on Friday afternoon and walked away with the physiotherapist.

Although the team officials have expressed confidence he will be fine for the Test, the in-form bowler who was rested for the last two one-dayers was put through light running on Thursday by the physio, suggesting all was not well for the player with a history of breakdowns.

India's pace resources are thin with both Zaheer Khan and S Sreesanth not available due to injuries. If Munaf Patel is ruled out by any chance, all-rounder Praveen Kumar is likely to make his debut and share the new ball with Sharma.

Opener Murali Vijay also had an injury scare, although team officials said it was nothing serious. Minutes after he started batting in the Sabina Park nets on Friday, a delivery from 21-year-old Jamaica left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cotterell thudded into his left glove.

Vijay continued to bat but was in pain later. A team official said on Saturday the batsman was fine and even an initial plan for an X-Ray was dropped. The knock from Cotterell, however, would alert the opener on what the batsmen can expect from the West Indies pace attack on a bouncy Sabina Park pitch.

Uncapped left-hander Abhinav Mukund is in the squad but the experience of Vijay will be crucial with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir out due to injury.