Wriddhiman Saha is understood to not have fully recovered from his thumb injury and hence is likely to miss at least part of India’s five-Test series in England beginning in August. Saha, who hurt his left thumb while playing in the IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad, not only missed majority of the second leg of the tournament including the final but also the one-off Test against Afghanistan in June.
Dinesh Karthik, who took Saha’s spot and kept wicket against Afghanistan, is likely to retain the spot. Karthik is already part of India’s limited-overs squad for the UK tour and should play as the wicketkeeper-batsman for the first Test starting at Edgbaston from August 1.
While ruling out Saha for the Afghanistan Test, the BCCI had said that his recovery would take five-six weeks. The Afghanistan Test started on June 14, and by the BCCI estimate Saha would be fit by the end of July. Although the BCCI has not issued any fitness update on Saha, the selectors as well as the India team management will want him to not just test his fitness but also his match-readiness.
The only chance Saha would have had to do that would come during the four-day warm-up match against Essex, which starts on July 25 in Chelmsford. In all probability, Karthik will test himself in that game, which is likely to feature all the Test specialists.
It is not clear who would be the back-up keeper for Karthik in case Saha is ruled out. If Saha does recover and misses only a match or two, then he could even come in as the reserve keeper. Otherwise that spot is likely to go to Parthiv Patel, who played in the Test series earlier this year in South Africa.
India started their UK tour with the limited-overs series against Ireland and England, the last game of which, the final ODI, will be played in Leeds on July 17. It is understood that the BCCI will announce the India Test squad after ODI series against England.