The Indian team was dealt a huge blow just minutes before the start of the fourth and final Test against Australia in Dharamsala when captain Virat Kohli was ruled out of the match due to a shoulder injury that he had sustained in the previous game.
With the series tied 1-1, India's middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane will stand in as skipper in the high-pressure match, said batting coach Sanjay Bangar.
"Unfortunately Kohli misses out, Rahane will be leading the side," Bangar said.
Questions over the fitness of Kohli, who has been going through a lean patch in the series so far, had been floating around ever since he had to leave the field after injuring his shoulder while trying to pull off an acrobatic dive in the third Test in Ranchi. With the incident taking place in the post-lunch session on the second day, Kohli had to be shifted to a clinic for scans later that evening. There were rumours over him being rested for the remainder of the match, though he dispelled those reports by walking out to bat later in the match. It was later reported that he had batted through pain.
Kohli thus ends the series against Australia on a disappointing note, having gathered a meagre 46 runs from five innings across three matches, with a highest score of 15.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh chinaman Kuldeep Yadav was handed his international debut earlier in the morning. Yadav, who has had a total experience of 22 First-Class games before his Test debut, came is as the official replacement for Kohli for the final Test. The other change that the Indians made to their team from the Ranchi match was replacing Ishant Sharma with Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Australia need just a draw to take home the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, having triumphed at home in 2014-15. A victory for the tourists will see them win their first Test series in India in 13 years. Whatever the result, India will retain their number one ranking at the end of a season which has seen them host a record 13 Test matches against four different visiting teams.
With inputs from AFP