JOHANNESBURG, Jan 16 (IANS) - Sachin Tendulkar has injured his hamstring and will return home. As his replacement, wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel will join the Indian squad in South Africa for the remaining three One-day internationals.
Tendulkar, who injured his right hamstring while batting in the second One-day against South Africa Saturday, is the fourth frontline Indian player to be injured with World Cup just a month away. He joins openers Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, and fast bowler Praveen Kumar on India's growing injury list.
"Sachin Tendulkar will not take further part in the ongoing ODI series against South Africa due to a hamstring injury. Parthiv Patel will fly to South Africa as his replacement," Indian cricket board secretary N.Srinivasan said Sunday.
There was no mention of the nature or extent of the injury. The national selectors will meet Monday to select the squad for the World Cup, which begins Feb 19.
Tendulkar, who scored 24 Saturday, did not field in South Africa's innings. India won the thrilling match by one run to level the five-match series.
Patel had returned to the national ODI side after six years when he was picked for the home series against New Zealand last month as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was being rested. He played in the last two ODIs in Banglore and Chennai and scored 53 and 56.
Patel's name must have come up as Dhoni got hit in the shin while keeping and the Gujarat boy can don the gloves if the captain is unavailable.
In the absence of Tendulkar, India is now left with only one regular opener in Murali Vijay. He and Rohit Sharma were included in the team as the back-up for Sehwag and Gambhir.
"I don't know who will open. Vijay is looking a bit out of form, but he's working well in the nets and form is just a matter of a few strokes," Dhoni said Saturday.
Dhoni also said he would be rotating the fast bowlers in the remaining three matches to keep the key bowlers injury free before World Cup.
"We will have to see what kind of niggle a bowler is having and accordingly we will decide," Dhoni said.
"We don't have too many fast bowlers to choose from when it comes to the one-day side. You have two bowlers outside, Ishant (Sharma) and Sreesanth, who have not played a lot of ODI cricket recently. This series is important, but I don't want any bowler to get injured because of over burden. We will try to avoid it because World Cup is big for us, but at the same time this series is important."