England’s odds of 11/4 to complete a 4-0 series whitewash against India may not last for much longer as Zaheer Khan has been ruled out of the remaining two Tests for the tourists.
Khan only bowled 13 overs in the first innings of the first Test at Lords before pulling up with a hamstring injury and he then played no part at Trent Bridge.
India had remained hopeful that their main strike bowler would be fit for the third Test at Edgbaston, but after bowling three overs in a drawn match with Northamptonshire the problem had clearly not improved.
Therefore, India are left with no choice but to call up RP Singh to replace Khan as they hope to recover to draw the series after losing the opening two Tests.
A statement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India said: “Zaheer Khan is suffering from a recurrent right hamstring strain and a right ankle impingement.
“He will require surgery for his ankle, followed by intensive rehabilitation for both the ankle and hamstring.”
Despite being just a 22-year-old, Ishant Sharma is now the most capped bowler left in the Indian squad, as they must also cope without experienced spinner Harbhajan Singh at Edgbaston because of a stomach injury.
India will be hoping for a big contribution from Singh, who will make his first Test appearance since 2008.
Sharma and Praveen Kumar have hardly had a rest since mid-June, during which time they have also played three Tests in the West Indies, alongside those in England.
The duo looked particularly jaded in the last Test and the freshness of Singh could be vital if India are to begin well at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
England are 6/5 in the cricket odds to win the third Test and take a 3-0 series lead, with India 7/2 to reduce their arrears and the draw priced at 6/4.