BCCI recently announced the Indian squad for the first three Test matches of the five-match series starting from August 1. With many speculations, BCCI selectors played safe here with just one surprise inclusion of Rishabh Pant as the backup wicketkeeper to Dinesh Karthik.
However, a surprise was the exclusion of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who aggravated his ongoing back problem by playing in the deciding ODI at Leeds, where he bowled 7 insipid overs for 49 runs and no wicket. He has been suffering from a stiff back since IPL, where he missed a few matches and now fingers are being pointed at the support staff of Indian team, namely team physio Patrick Farhart and trainer Shankar Basu.
A senior BCCI official privy to team selection was "surprised" as to why he was played in the third ODI if he wasn't fully fit. "Please go and ask Ravi Shastri that question," the official replied to PTI when asked about Bhuvneshwar’s injury management.
"The moment we are saying he has aggravated his injury, we are conceding that he wasn't fully fit. So if he is a vital cog in our Test match scheme of things, why was he risked for an ODI," the official questioned.
"If you look at IPL, Bhuvi missed five out of 17 games for Sunrisers. The BCCI had asked the franchise to look after his workload management. Then he was rested for Afghanistan Test so that he gets time to recover for UK tour. But it seems something is amiss and that's quite baffling" the official said.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar had passed the mandatory yo-yo test to qualify for team India selection for England. However, the official questioned whether Farhart and Basu had given a proper update about Bhuvneshwar's fitness.
"There are some questions that the team management needs to answer. If despite being given rest during the third T20I and the first two ODIs, he wasn't hundred percent fit, then why was he allowed to play. Secondly, did Farhart report before the third ODI that playing him would be risking his injury?" the official said.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar had been an asset to Team India on the last tour to England in 2014 where he shined with both ball and bat.
(with PTI inputs)