Mumbai, July 15: The cloud of doubt over dashing Indian opener Virender Sehwag's return seems to be thickening owing to the seriousness of the shoulder injury. The wound kept him out of India's recently-completed tour of the West Indies and as has been announced, will ensure his absence for at least the first two weeks of India's tour of England.
"We've heard that he'll be over here for maybe the third and fourth Test, so we're crossing our fingers for that," Duncan Fletcher, the India coach, said.
Meanwhile, India will have to make do with the services of a fledgling opener in Abhinav Mukund who judging from his Test debut in the Windies earlier this month, doesn't constitute quite the potent and belligerent stuff that Sehwag is renowned for.
"As far as Virender Sehwag is concerned, there aren't many cricketers in the world who can have the impact he can," said Indian captain M S Dhoni. "Of course we'll miss him, but the good thing for Indian cricket is it gives a chance to a youngster like Mukund who can have a look at international cricket and see what areas he needs to improve."
Sehwag, though, is just one piece in a composite line-up that will include the returning Sachin Tendulkar along with Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. Fletcher also believes that the tough batting conditions India faced in West Indies will bode well for them in this series as well.
Dhoni, meanwhile, isn't perturbed that India only have their three-day match against Somerset as a lead in to their first Test against England starting on July 21. But he feels that the conditions won't impact the Indian team too severely.
"The West Indian climate is quite different but there's nice weather here for cricket. I don't think there's too much pressure on us to acclimatise," he said. "The last two days we've had fantastic net sessions.