Napier: India lost the services of its inspiring captain Dhoni in the second Test match against New Zealand at McLean Park due to a back injury.
It took one and all by surprise when Dhoni did not walk out for the toss on Thursday.
India's dashing opener Virender Sehwag took over the captaincy of the touring team, which leads the three-match series 1-0, and Dinesh Karthik was named in India's match 11 as Dhoni's replacement.
It was a late withdrawal by the wicketkeeper batsman who was declared fit to play on the eve of the Test match.
Reports on the seriousness of the injury are to emerge later in the day.
Sehwag has captained India once before, winning a home Test against Sri Lanka.