India's T20 World Cup campaign is facing the prospect of a huge setback with spearhead Jasprit Bumrah in doubt for the tournament because of a back injury. Bumrah travelled to Bengaluru on Wednesday to undergo fresh scans on his back, and the results are awaited.
ESPNcricinfo understands a final decision on Bumrah's participation in the T20 World Cup will be taken in the next few days. It is understood the BCCI's medical team has decided to wait for a few days and monitor Bumrah to ascertain if he can work his way back to peak fitness to be available to play at some point in the World Cup, even if not from the start.
Bumrah had missed the Asia Cup in August and September with a back injury but was then picked for the subsequent home T20I series against Australia and South Africa. He played the second and third T20Is against Australia on September 23 and 25, returning figures of 1 for 23 and 0 for 50, before missing the first match against South Africa on September 28 because of back pain.
"Jasprit Bumrah complained of back pain during India's practice session on Tuesday," the BCCI said on Twitter after the toss of the first T20I against South Africa. "The BCCI medical team assessed him. He is ruled out of the first #INDvSA T20I."
PTI, however, reported on Thursday that the fast bowler would miss the T20 World Cup, quoting a BCCI official who said Bumrah could be out of action for months. "Bumrah is not going to play the World T20 for sure. He has a serious back condition," the BCCI official told PTI. "It's a stress fracture and he could be out for a period of six months."
After the win against Australia in the second T20I in Nagpur, India captain Rohit Sharma had said it was good to see Bumrah bowling at "full throttle". "Honestly, coming back after a couple of months, a back injury can be tricky," Rohit said at the post-match presentation on September 23. "So, we just have to give him more time. I am not going to analyse too much about how he bowled - it was good to see him on the park … Slowly and steadily he is coming back to his rhythm, that's what he's been talking about when he is bowling in the nets as well. So it was good to see him on the park, bowling full throttle."
If the latest setback is indeed a stress fracture of the back, it will be Bumrah's second such injury in the last three years. The fast bowler was diagnosed with a "minor stress fracture in his lower back" in September 2019, an injury that sidelined him for about three months.
India have two fast bowlers - Mohammed Shami and Deepak Chahar - in their reserves for the World Cup. Teams that have directly qualified for the Super 12 round of the tournament - as India have - can make changes to their squad without ICC permission till October 15.
If Bumrah doesn't make the cut, he will be the second major player that India will miss at the tournament, after allrounder Ravindra Jadeja was ruled out by a knee injury.
India are in Group 2 in the Super 12 round of the T20 World Cup, along with Pakistan, South Africa, Bangladesh and two teams from the qualifying round. India begin their campaign against Pakistan at the MCG on October 23.
India T20 World Cup squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), KL Rahul (vice-capt), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah*, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Arshdeep Singh.
Reserve players: Mohammed Shami, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Chahar.