Batsman Manish Pandey has replaced injured allrounder Yuvraj Singh in India’s squad ahead of the World T20 semi-final against the West Indies on Thursday.
Yuvraj suffered a minor tear to his left ankle according to team manager Ravi Shastri in India’s six-wicket win over Australia in Mohali and has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament.
Yuvraj’s injury opens the door for Pandey and reserve batsman Ajinka Rahane, who were seen training together yesterday at the Cricket Club of India Stadium in Mumbai alongside tomorrow’s opponents.
Pandey scored an ODI century against Australia at the SCG in January in his most recent match for India, but Rahane is Yuvraj’s likely replacement.
Retired Australia allrounder Shane Watson, who played with Rahane at the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League before the franchise was suspended, backed the 27-year-old to make an impact in the World T20 if given a chance.
“No doubt I’ve had a lot of experience playing with Ajinka and he’s certainly a great player,” Watson said ahead of Australia’s clash with India.
“If Ajinka gets an opportunity, he certainly knows how to score runs in all conditions against all bowlers so either way the Indian team is going to be very strong.”
Rahane has played 22 Tests, 67 ODIs and 17 T20Is for India, but has endured a lean run of form throughout the Asia Cup and the tournament hosts’ two-warm up matches.
While Yuvraj’s batting will be a big loss, his deceptive left-arm spin will equally be missed, and Shastri is yet to make a decision on his replacement.
“We’ve not decided because Manish has just joined the party yesterday,” Shastri told reporters on Wednesday.
“We’ll take a good look at everything in the nets and see what will be our best options for tomorrow’s game.”
Yuvraj’s injury will force India to change their XI for the first time since their Asia Cup match against the UAE, having fielded the same side for each of their last five T20Is.