Zaheer, Smith ruled out of ODI series

Zaheer, Smith ruled out of ODI series

Zaheer, Smith ruled out of ODI series

Zaheer Khan. AFP

Zaheer, who took no part in the final day’s proceedings in the second Test against South Africa at the Eden Gardens on Thursday, has been laid low by a quadricep strain in his right leg, according to a press release from BCCI secretary N Srinivasan.

The release added that Kerala paceman S Sreesanth would replace Zaheer in the 15-man squad. Only on Wednesday evening, India coach Gary Kirsten had said Zaheer leaving the field during the truncated fourth day’s proceedings offered no cause for concern.

 “He came off the field just to get some ice on it (his tight quadricep). But it’s just precautionary at the moment,” Kirsten had remarked. The injury, obviously, is a lot more serious than initially anticipated, though there was no indication about how long it will take for Zaheer to return to full fitness.

 Smith, meanwhile, has been advised ten days’ rest to recover from a broken left little finger. The Protean skipper sustained the injury two days before the start of the second Test during a catching routine, though he braved pain to play through the series-deciding contest.

In Smith’s absence, Jacques Kallis would lead the South Africans, Cricket South Africa media officer Michael Owen Smith revealed. Owen Smith added that the in-form Hashim Amla, who made a hundred in every innings in the Test series, would stay back as Smith’s replacement.

 Skipper Smith will return to South Africa with the Test specialists, Owen Smith said. There continues to be some question marks over wicket-keeper Mark Boucher’s availability for the Jaipur game. Boucher missed the second Test with back spasms on the eve of the match, and while he will stay on with the team, a decision on whether he will play in Jaipur will be taken in due course.

 “Mark Boucher is on track with his recovery, and we're confident he'll be able to play on Sunday,” Owen Smith added.

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