Thursday, September 10, 2009

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Date: 11 Sep 2009

Gautam Gambhir will miss the Compaq Cup after straining a groin muscle, the Indian board announced on Thursday. He has been advised 10 days' rest, and is returning from Sri Lanka ahead of the tri-series.

The selectors will announce his replacement later in the day, the BCCI statement said, and he will join the squad on Friday, the day India play their first game of the tournament.

Two of the possible contenders for Gambhir's slot, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, are at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore, undergoing rehabilitation for shoulder injuries. M Vijay is another possible replacement. Gambhir is expected to report at the NCA for assessment and rehabilitation.

Gambhir's injury means India will be without two of their three established openers in Sri Lanka: Virender Sehwag is already out with shoulder injury and will miss the Champions Trophy too. Gambhir's replacement notwithstanding, Dinesh Karthik, who opened in the ODIs in the West Indies in the absence of Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, is in the squad and likely to make the starting XI.

India will desperately want Gambhir back in time for the Champions Trophy, where they play their first match on September 26, against Pakistan in Centurion. They would ideally want at least a week's acclimatisation in South Africa, which means there will be a degree of risk involved should India take Gambhir to the Champions Trophy. It will be a tricky decision to make, because one such choice recently went wrong. Sehwag, who was injured but hoping to recover in time when the squad for World Twenty20 was announced, was taken along to England, but is yet to recover from his shoulder injury.