India has suffered a monstrous blow on the eve of the second Test with star finger spinner Ravi Ashwin ruled out of the match.
India revealed Ashwin and middle-order batsman Rohit Sharma are both injured and unavailable for the match, starting Friday in Perth.
Ashwin suffered a left-side abdominal sprain, while Sharma injured his lower back during the Adelaide Test. They now join teenage batting star Prithvi Shaw on the squad’s injured list.
Hanuma Vihari will come straight into the middle order to replace Sharma, and he also bowls part-time spin if the team requires it.
If India want a full-time spinner in the side they will bring Ravindra Jadeja in. Otherwise they could opt for four quicks on a bouncy Perth Stadium deck, in which case Bhuvneshwar Kumar will come into the attack.
India could be set to unleash four quicks for the second Test against Australia in Perth after losing off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin to injury.
The tourists, whose victory in Adelaide handed them a 1-0 series lead, have announced a 13-man squad for the Test starting on Friday at Optus Stadium.
Ashwin, who sent down 52 overs in the second innings in Adelaide, has been ruled out with a left abdominal strain.
Rohit Sharma has been sidelined after he jarred his back while fielding and batting prodigy Prithvi Shaw remains unavailable with an ankle injury.
Spin-bowling all-rounder Hanuma Vihari is tipped to replace Rohit, who had already been on shaky ground after twin batting failures in Adelaide.
The inclusion of Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar adds intrigue given predictions of a fast and bouncy Perth Stadium pitch.
India lined up with four pacemen at the WACA Test in 2012 which Australia won by an innings and 37 runs.
The spicy Perth Stadium deck will hold no fear for an Indian pace unit widely considered to be the best the nation has produced.
Skipper Virat Kohli on Thursday made reference to India’s victory over South Africa this year on a green Johannesburg deck he rated as the toughest he had played on.
“We certainly get more excited than nervous looking at lively pitches now,” Kohli said.
“We understand that we do have a bowling attack which can bowl the opposition out as much as they are convinced about their attack.”
Umesh is capable of hitting 150km/h and could add fire power to the Adelaide attack of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shamiand Jasprit Bumrah.
But the tendency at Perth Stadium to trap humidity could benefit swing specialist Bhuvneshwar, who was man of the match in Johannesburg.
The Indian team management said no decision had been made on player availability for the third Test in Melbourne.
India named a 13-man squad for the match.
Virat Kohli, M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav