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Virat Kohli to replace injured Gambhir in Sri Lanka

Last updated on: September 10, 2009 19:43 IST
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Gautam GambhirIndia's tri-series cricket campaign received a jolt on Thursday when left-handed opener Gautam Gambhir was ruled out of the event because of a groin injury.

Young Dehi middle order batsman Virat Kohli has been named his replacement.

"Gautam Gambhir has strained his groin muscle and has been advised rest for ten days," BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in a statement.

"He will be returning to India." he added.

Gambhir's return means India will be without both their regular openers since Virender Sehwag is already out of action, recovering after shoulder surgery.

In the absence of Sehwag, Gambhir was expected to open with the seasoned Sachin Tendulkar and shoulder bulk of the responsibility.

The setback could not come at a more inopportune time and will no doubt disturb the combination at the top of the order.

With the regular pair of Sehwag and Gambhir sidelined, the experienced Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik, who has opened the innings in recent times, is likely to take up the responsibility.

Interestingly, conditions in Sri Lanka will not be totally alien to the 20-year-old Kohli, who played all five of his ODIs in Sri Lanka last year before falling out of favour.

In those five matches, he scored 159 runs, at an average of 31.80 and a 66.52 strike rate. His highest score is 54, against Sri Lanka in August 2008.

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