An impressive performer against Pakistan in the World Cup semifinal, pacer Ashish Nehra has been ruled out of the final against Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Saturday.
Announcing this on Friday, Indian captain Mahendra singh Dhoni, however, said that Gautam Gambhir, who picked up a hamstring injury at Mohali, should be able to play in the final.
Nehra has been ruled out with multiple fractures he sustained on his right hand middle finger while fielding against Pakistan. He was the most economical Indian bowler in the match, giving away 33 runs and taking two wickets.
In a carefully-worded remark, Dhoni hinted going in with three medium pacers, that means the highly rated off-spinner Ravichandran Ashiwn may have to again sit it out.
"Gambhir looks good right now, Ashish is ruled out with multiple injuries on his right hand finger. Gambhir is likely to be fit for the game," said Dhoni on the eve of the match.
In the absence of Nehra, India are likely to have a look at fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, who only played the first league match against Bangladesh.
Dhoni said playing three pacers is a likely plan for the team as the wicket at the Wankhede Stadium offers initial pace and bounce to the fast bowlers.
"The track here offers some pace and bounce for the seamers initially and if there is some reverse swing, then third seamer will have some impact on the game. We have full confidence in Ashwin and I think he has done a great job in the limited opportunities that came his way. But we have not yet finally decided whether we have to go in with three pacers or two pacers," he said.
Asked what will be the best way to control an aggressive Sreesanth, Dhoni said: "The only person who can control Sreesanth is Sreesanth himself. It is beyond my control. He is a player who gets excited when it comes to big games. I hope he will be in the best frame of mind tomorrow. It is unfortunate that we have not been able to give him much chance after one game, though I feel that he did not bowl that badly. I would love to give him a chance again."