x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Struggling India have Yuvraj ruled out with dengue fever

The batsman misses match, but the Sri Lanka captain Sangakkara is wary of opponents despite their injury concerns.

India, demolished by New Zealand in their opening game of the tri-series, suffered a major blow ahead of today's second match against Sri Lanka with the news that Yuvraj Singh, their big-hitting batsman, was diagnosed with dengue fever, a potentially fatal illness that is spread by mosquitos.

Yuvraj has been ruled out for today's match in Dambulla, which is crucial to India's chances in the tournament after the embarrassing 200-run defeat against the Kiwis in their opening match. Ashish Nehra, the left-arm pace bowler, could join him on the sidelines with a thigh strain, while Ishant Sharma is a doubt as he nurses a knee injury. "Yuvraj Singh is not available for this game," MS Dhoni, the India captain, said at the pre-match press conference.

"He has dengue but he is out of danger. We are monitoring Ashish Nehra. He has got a bit of problem with his glute [muscle]. So we will take the exact decision before the game. Ishant is shaping up well. As of now, these are the two players who may be missing out." The injury-ravaged India team in Sri Lanka are already missing Zaheer Khan, their pace bowling spearhead, and Gautam Gambhir, the opening batsman, and Dhoni admitted he was worried about the amount of overs his bowlers were having to put in during their current schedule.

"The workload on the bowler can be too much - especially for those playing both the Test matches and the one-dayers," Dhoni said. "Because the workload on them is a bit too much, that really challenges the limit. For batsmen, they don't have to put in the same amount of effort compared to a bowler." Injuries to the bowling attack have made it a frustrating trip to Sri Lanka for India. They laboured to a 1-1 tie in the Test series and lost the opening match of the ODI tri-series against New Zealand, on Tuesday, but Dhoni said the dressing room is still in high spirits.

"We had some time off," he said. "So we tried to make the most of it. We had a few days off. I don't think the spirit has been affected that much. Of course, it was a disappointing loss. So hopefully we will turn up on the field well prepared for the challenges." Sri Lanka started their tri-series campaign with a three-wicket win over New Zealand, but Kumar Sangakkara, their captain, is expecting India to bounce back.

"It will depend on what they are thinking about and the Indian team know that they are a good side," Sangakkara said. "In ODI and T20 cricket, it doesn't matter what you have done even the day before. If you come in and perform well the next day, you can still win. "So we know how dangerous India is. We know what we have got to do, so we will try and do our disciplines better than India hopefully."

Sangakkara has also advocated a rotation policy for his players, especially the bowlers, with the World Cup scheduled to be held in the subcontinent next year. "From a team point of view, we can recommend rest to certain players, especially fast bowlers because of their [work] load," he said. "But the final call has to come from the selectors, otherwise there is too much responsibility on individual players.

"And when you have a rotational policy, I think it is important that the player has the confidence that if you are rotated out of the team, you get first choice back. It doesn't matter if your replacement scores a hundred or a double. "I think everyone must understand that and must be convinced about the merits of a rotational policy. Bowlers will be rotated more often and batsmen less because you want a batsman to be always among runs."

arizvi@thenational.ae