Yuvraj Singh is out of the ICC Champions Trophy. The aggressive right-hander was ruled out of the tournament with a fractured finger on his right-hand. Virat Kohli will be Yuvraj's replacement in the Indian team.
The Indian vice-captain hurt his finger during the team's fielding session at the University ground here on Wednesday. He did not take part in rest of the practice session and soon left for a scan.
The scan results confirmed the team management's worst fears – a fracture.
A message from the BCCI said, “Yuvraj Singh has fractured a finger on his right hand and has been ruled out for six weeks. The selectors have chosen Virat Kohli as a replacement for Yuvraj Singh. He will fly out as soon as the formalities are completed.”
The Indian team, already without the influential Virender Sehwag – recovering from a shoulder surgery - has lost another match-winner ahead of a major competition. Opener Gautam Gambhir too is returning from a groin strain.
Yuvraj has often been an inspirational figure for India in the middle-order. His left-handed aggression has swung many games for his team. The 27-year-old batsman has 7098 runs in 239 ODIs at 37.75. His runs have come at a stunning strike rate of 89.46.
His repertoire of shots off the back-foot – he is a strong puller and a cutter – makes him invaluable on tracks with some pace and bounce.
And Yuvraj's tally of 12 ODI hundreds is extremely creditable for a middle-order batsman. He is arguably India's most destructive batsman in the latter stages of the innings.
India meets Pakistan in a big game at Centurion on Saturday. The team-management has to rework its batting order. But then, Yuvraj's absence could leave a hole in the middle-order. Men with the ability to seize the initiative in the manner Yuvraj does come rare. India will have to regroup quickly.