Injuries to key players such as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Rohit Sharma is giving them the jitters but India would still be firm favourites when they take on a depleted and struggling Sri Lanka in their penultimate league encounter of the Asia Cup Twenty20 cricket tournament, here tomorrow.
Despite injuries, India have the edge against the island nation, whom they beat 2-1 in a recent home series. The reason being a possible injury to Lankan captain and primary strike bowler Lasith Malinga, whose knee problem has again flared up and has put his further participation in the tournament in doubt.
“I don’t know if Lasith will be available in the next two games as it is a fitness related issue. His injury has again flared up,” stand-in captain Angelo Mathews said after their loss against Bangladesh.
More than the challenge posed by defending World T20 champions, the Indian team will like to set their house in order as far injuries are concerned.
Skipper Dhoni is playing through pain due to the back spasms, which has prevented him from taking part in most of the training sessions.
If that wasn’t enough, Shikhar Dhawan was ruled unfit before the last game against Pakistan, reportedly with a niggle in his left ankle.
There is speculation that considering Dhawan’s questionable technique in conditions where the ball bounces as well as there is seam and swing, the team management found Ajinkya Rahane more reliable at the top of the order.
If Dhawan’s injury wasn’t enough, the latest blow has been Rohit Sharma getting hit on the left toe by a crushing yorker from Mohammed Amir in the game against Pakistan.
According to information, a precautionary X-ray has been done and luckily no fracture has been detected.
But with both openers being injured, it does put a question-mark on the playing XI, which has been more or less same in the last eight T20 games.
For the record, India have won seven out of the eight games they have played this year.
After the Pakistan game, the possibility of a new opening combination cannot be totally ruled out. It could well be Parthiv Patel walking alongside Rahane, in case both Rohit and Shikhar are ruled out of the Lanka tie.