Indian fast bowler Zaheer Khan has been ruled out of the third and deciding Test against New Zealand in Nagpur due to a groin strain. Ranji trophy left-arm seamer Jaidev Unadkat has been summoned in his place. Unadkat represents Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy and has picked up 26 wickets in six first-class games at an average of 26.34
Owing to the injury, Zaheer missed the majority of the fourth day of the second Test in Hyderabad, where he left the field during New Zealand's second innings, and a major part of the fifth day when he bowled only three overs. The decision to leave him out of the third Test comes as a precautionary measure.
Zaheer has been a spearhead of sorts for the Indian bowling attack, taking 261 wickets in 76 Tests at an average of 32.22 with 10 five-wicket hauls and 13 four-wicket hauls. His temporary departure from the team will definitely hurt its chances of forcing a win in the next test.
Zaheer's absence was felt in Hyderabad as India struggled to strike and New Zealand, led by Brendon McCullum, steered the Test to a draw. Zaheer had sparked India's fightback in the first innings after New Zealand had taken the first-day honours, and helped bowl the visitors out for 350. His injury means Ishant Sharma could be drafted in for the final game to partner Sreesanth, who picked up four wickets in the Hyderabad Test.