Injury scare to Dhoni hits Indian preparations

Cricket Asia Cup : Gujarat's Parthiv Patel called in as back-up for skipper

Injury scare to Dhoni hits Indian preparations

India’s Asia Cup campaign was hit by an injury scare to their ODI and T20 captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who complained of back spasm on Monday.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) informed that Dhoni suffered the spasm during a training session here. Gujarat captain and wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel would join the squad as a back-up.

“India ODI and T20I captain MS Dhoni has suffered a muscle spasm in the back during a training session today in Dhaka,” BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said in a statement.

“The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named Parthiv Patel as the back-up wicketkeeper for the upcoming Asia Cup, 2016. He will join the team in Dhaka at the earliest.”

A team official, however, said the step was merely precautionary in the absence of a backup wicketkeeper.

“He (Dhoni) felt uncomfortable in the morning. So it was decided there was no point risking him. Wicket-keeping is a specialised area so it was decided to fly in Parthiv. It is just for the sake of precaution. There is nothing serious,” the official told Deccan Herald.

Dhoni, 34, has been troubled by back problems in the past.  However, the Indian team management would be keeping its fingers crossed after already losing fast bowler Mohammad Shami to recurring injuries. More so, as India have just begun to have a settled Twenty20 side after encouraging wins over Australia and Sri Lanka. They would like to keep the momentum with the winning side going.

Dhoni, who had led India to 2007 T20 World Cup, has been eager to palm the trophy once again with the tournament this year being scheduled in India from March. The Asia Cup, which has been tweaked into a Twenty20 tournament this year, will also serve as a tune up to the mega event.

It would also be interesting to see at what slot Patel would fit in the Indian batting line-up if Dhoni is forced to skip any match. Patel has had a decent run in the opening slot but Dhoni bats at No 6.

The 30-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman last played for India during the ODI triangular series in Australia in February 2012.  In T20 internationals he had featured for India only twice, against West Indies (Port of Spain) and England (Manchester), both times in 2011 and as an opener.

The left-handed attacking batsman, however, has had a good domestic season after emerging as the second highest run getter in Gujarat’s Vijay Hazare Trophy triumph, amassing 295 runs that included century and a fifty at an average of 36.87. He also starred with a century, albeit in a losing cause, in the Deodhar Trophy against India ‘A’ in Kanpur last month. India play their first match of the Asia Cup against hosts Bangladesh on Wednesday followed by a high-octane clash against Pakistan on Saturday.

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