India v/s England: Manish Pandey included in hosts’ squad after Ajinkya Rahane injures finger during practice

India suffered a huge setback on Thursday as middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane was forced out of the team after sustaining an unfortunate injury on his right index finger while batting in the nets on Thursday.

Even though he hasn’t been amongst runs off-late, Rahane is an integral cog in the batting unit. This will surely be a bitter pill for him to swallow as he was due to play a Test match for the first time in front of his home fans. Manish Pandey has been included in the side as a replacement.

While Rahane will be left to lick his wounds, another Mumbaikar, Shardul Thakur, was in for some goods news as he was roped into the Indian team as replacement for in-form fast-bowler Mohammed Shami.

Here’s the BCCI’s tweet announcing the changes:

Earlier on Wednesday, India captain Virat Kohli said that the philosophy of the current team is that when someone like a Murali Vijay or Ajinkya Rahane go through a rough patch, the others taken it upon themselves to compensate for their mates.

Both Vijay (192 runs from 6 innings) and Rahane (63 from 5 innings) have struggled a lot during the current series but just like coach Anil Kumble, the Test skipper also made it clear that he is going to back his players firmly. “Ajinkya and Vijay are both solid payers. Vijay got a hundred in the first innings of the series (at Rajkot). (When) I did not have any scores to be proud of during the New Zealand series, Ajinkya was stepping in. It’s all about covering for another guy, who is probably not getting runs and that’s what team sport is all about,” Kohli made it clear about what he thought on team ethos.

“We don’t believe in picking out individuals that this one is not playing well and this one is playing extraordinarily well. We compensate for someone who does not get runs and that is how we go ahead and pick up your teammates. Tha has been our aim,” he added.

Kohli complimented the lower-order batsmen for contributing to the Indian totals in this series. “Lower-order contributions obviously help big time,” he said. Kohli was also excited about newcomer Jayant Yadav who has not only bowled his off-spinners well, but has also chipped in with the bat lower down the order. “I have been very impressed (with Jayant Yadav) who, as you said, is only two games old. You can call him an all-rounder now. I haven’t had to tell him anything. He sets his own field, he knows exactly where he wants to bowl.

“Sometimes I ask mid-on to be back, he urges me to keep it up, he wants the batsmen to go after him. So he is pretty confident of his skill, it is very evident and it can come only with professionalism. Jayant practices his skills very well, he is fit, he understands his game, he is an intelligent guy, so great package for Team India. In years to come, you will see a lot more match winning performances from him, because he has got all the skills needed to be a very good Test player,” said Kohli.

India take on England in the fourth Test from tomorrow in the five match series, which the hosts lead 2-0. They registered victories in Visakhapatnam and Mohali respectively, while the first Test at Rajkot was a draw. Asked if is he going back with Vijay and Rahul as openers, Kohli said,”Yes. They are specialist openers, so there is no question of them not opening. They are not guys who have batted in different positions and they have opened for their states and country as well, they will be our specialist openers.”