New Delhi: With just over a week left for the opening game of the three-Test series against South Africa, the Indian team management suffered a huge blow as it came to the fore that pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah had been ruled out of the series due to a minor stress fracture in his lower back. The team management is now targeting a West Indies series return for the fast bowler.
Speaking to IANS, sources in the team management said that the Bangladesh series is not in the radar as skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri want Bumrah to recover completely and return to action as India also have an eye on the 2020 World T20 in Australia next year and the pacer will be a vital cog in the line-up.
"You can say that the team is looking at a return for the West Indies limited-overs series. The team management is very clear that they want no shortcuts and undergoing a proper rehab and returning fully fit is vital. The Bangladesh series would be too early," the source explained.
This means that Bumrah will have no role to play in India's campaign in the World Test Championship this year. With an eye on the upcoming World T20, India will be majorly playing limited-overs cricket this year with the three Test matches against South Africa and the two Tests against Bangladesh post the SA series being their only games in the longer format this year.
Asked if there could be further delay to Bumrah's return, the source said it was unlikely with Nitin Patel at the helm of affairs. "If there is one person that the Indian players swear by, it is Nitin. And with him observing Bumrah's recovery, he might on the contrary be ready for action before time," the source smiled.
The Indians have been playing non-stop cricket and that is why skipper Kohli and the team management has time and again spoken about the need to manage the workload of the likes of Bumrah to avoid injuries.
"That's probably the most important thing for us right now, managing workload of players. That's why he (Bumrah) didn't play any white-ball cricket after the World Cup because we wanted him to be fresh for the Tests. He is going to be a key factor for us as long as the Test championship continues. We know how good a bowler he is. And the impact he can make in a spell," Kohli had said after the pacer's devastating spells in the Windies Test series.
But sadly, skipper Kohli will have to make do without the services of the pacer for a while.