Bhuvneshwar Kumar will make his comeback from a lower back injury for India A in the inconsequential third-place playoff against South Africa A in Alur on Wednesday (August 29). The 28-year-old fast bowler, who was last seen in action in India’s third ODI against England at Headingley on July 17, had aggravated a lower-back condition which eventually ruled him out of the remainder of the tour.
Bhuvneshwar was left out of an 18-member Indian squad for the first three Tests of the series when the selectors announced the list of players on July 18. After tests in London, he was sent to the NCA, with the medical team of the BCCI monitoring his rehabilitation. At that time it was expected that he would need about four weeks, but it later emerged that it would take another couple of weeks for him to bowl in a competitive match.
India had also missed out on Jasprit Bumrah’s services for the first two Tests at Edgbaston and Lord’s but the seamer shrugged off his finger injury to play a part in India’s victory at Trent Bridge. Should the need occur, India could be tempted into drafting Bhuvneshwar to play the tour-ending final Test at the Oval, but with the squads already announced, the selectors and team management will not want to rush his comeback given his recent bout with injuries, irrespective of how the series is placed.
That Bhuvneshwar has been added to the India A squad and not the ‘B’ team that’ll taken on Australia A in the final of the Quadrangular series perhaps adds to the uncertainty of his match-readiness.