First came the news that captain Virat Kohli was going to give the Test, which will be held in Bengaluru in June 14, a miss to play county cricket in order to prepare for the five-match England series that starts in August.
That decision drew some criticism from the sections of the Indian bard as a few felt that the Indian Test captaincy was being devalued by Kohli’s decision, howsoever well-intentioned it was.
Almost a month with county side Surrey was seen as ideal preparation for Kohli who wanted to erase memories of a horror 2014 tour of England where he averaged 13.4 in five Tests.
But just as he was finishing his IPL duties, news came of Kohli picking up a mysterious neck injury that ruled him out of the county stint and also put his England tour in danger.
Apparently, Kohli is suffering from a herniated disc. However, the BCCI neither confirmed nor denied whether the India captain’s injury was serious or why he was allowed to play in the IPL despite picking up the injury in Royal Challengers Bangalore’s penultimate match on May 17.
According to reports, if Kohli’s injury isn’t handled properly he could end up missing the entire England tour.
Kohli’s back/neck isn’t the only cause for concern. Seam bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar was forced to skip at least four matches in the IPL due to back injury. He is back in the Sunrisers Hyderabad playing XI but that is no guarantee that he is fully recovered.
IPL has forced many Indian players to push themselves well beyond their limits. Sachin Tendulkar played the 2010 IPL final despite splitting the webbing of his right hand and being barely able to grip the bat.
Dhoni has played the entire ongoing IPL with a severe back issue which has compromised his movement, even though he is batting as freely as ever.
What it means is India’s massive tour of England draws nearer, the back issues of Kohli, Bhuvneshwar and Dhoni should give the management a lot of headache.
Kohli and Bhuvi are especially crucial to India’s chances in English conditions and the secrecy surrounding the exact nature of their injury raises more concerns.
While India have put a lot of emphasis on winning in all formats in England to put the team in the right frame of mind ahead of a tough away season that culminates in the World Cup in England next year, the signs so far have not been positive.
For the record, India play three T20s, three ODIs and five Tests against England staring from July 3.
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