In a big blow to India, allrounder Ravindra Jadeja in all likeliness will end up missing the entire Test series against England owing to his rehabilitation from a thumb injury taking more time than expected. Jadeja had dislocated his thumb during the third Test against Australia in Sydney last month and following consultation with a hand specialist, had flown back to India to continue his recovery at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

He has left out from the India squad for the first two Tests in Chennai but was expected to return for the remaining two matches, scheduled to be played in Ahmedabad. However, according to a Cricbuzz report, there’s ‘no chance’ that he will gain full fitness for the Tests.

Had he recovered fully in time, Jadeja would have flown to Ahmedabad early to complete his quarantine and then join his India teammates. There’s also no clarity whether he will be ready for the limited-overs matches that follow the Tests.

What does Jadeja’s absence mean?

Jadeja has proved how vital he’s to the balance of the Indian cricket team, across formats. He contributes with the ball, bat and is counted among the best fielders in the world. On Indian pitches, he is lethal with the ball, so it’s quite evident how much India captain Virat Kohli must have been eager for his services since his team suffered a stunning 227-run defeat in the series opener to England.

However, this does clear the path for another left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav to make the cut into India’s playing XI. There has been much debate over why the chinaman is being ignored for the Tests despite him being part of the squad for the Australia tour and the current series against England.

He’s been part of a bio-secure bubble since August last year and has managed to play in a grand total of five IPL matches, one ODI and one practice match on Australian tour. With Axar Patel, a left-arm spinner, being declared unfit on the morning of the first Test in Chennai, Shahbaz Nadeem got a game raising several eyebrows.

With Nadeem being unimpressive, chances are bright that Kuldeep may feature in the second Test providing another dimension to Indian bowling attack as they seek to draw level in the four-match series.