Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav Image Credit: Sportzpics for IPL

New Delhi: Suryakumar Yadav is all set to miss the T20I series against Afghanistan due to an ankle injury sustained during the series against South Africa, said reports

The twist of fate could potentially keep him out of action for six weeks, casting a shadow over his immediate participation.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed Suryakumar's absence, detailing his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA).

Sources within the BCCI revealed that the 31-year-old's return would be tested with a stint in the Ranji Trophy for Mumbai in February, serving as a fitness check before the impending Indian Premier League (IPL).

“Surya has reported to NCA for rehab work and the Medical Science team as of now has ruled him injured. He won't be able to play against Afghanistan which starts in three weeks. Since he is unlikely to be selected for Tests, he will possibly play for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy in February to check his fitness before playing in the IPL," a source privy to BCCI told IANS.

Captaincy conundrum

With key players like Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya unavailable, the selectors may face a captaincy conundrum.

The speculations around Rohit Sharma potentially leading the side emerged unless the selectors decided to opt for Ravindra Jadeja as a temporary captain. However, Jadeja's workload concerns loomed large with his commitment to all five Tests against England.

Adding to the woes, Ruturaj Gaikwad, who led the squad at the Asian Games, found himself sidelined due to a broken finger, further thinning the available batting options.

The selectors will also face a dilemma over who will be the wicketkeeper as Ishan Kishan withdrew from the South Africa Tests citing "personal reasons," with reports suggesting a prioritisation of mental health after a year on the road. Jitesh Sharma was touted as the replacement behind the stumps.

The BCCI, respecting the players' privacy, refrained from prying into Kishan's decision, acknowledging the toll that inconsistent selections can take on a player's mental well-being.

As the team regroups to face Afghanistan, the challenges ahead are not just on the field but also in managing the delicate balance between performance and player well-being in the demanding world of international cricket.