MUMBAI: Under-fire Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was Thursday ruled out of the upcoming Asia Cup cricket tournament due to a side-strain injury that he suffered during the second Test in New Zealand, paving the way for Virat Kohli to lead the side.
“MS Dhoni has been ruled out of the forthcoming Asia Cup, to be played in Bangladesh, in February-March 2014. He sustained a Grade I left side-strain injury during the course of the second Test against New Zealand. He will be undergoing rehabilitation for ten days,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement.
Tamil Nadu’s wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Kartik has been picked as Dhoni’s replacement.
“The All-India Senior Selection Committee has picked Dinesh Kartik as his replacement in the Indian squad for the tournament. Virat Kohli will lead India in the competition,” the statement said.
Kohli has been India’s standout batsman in recent years, stamping his mark in almost every overseas tour with impressive knocks.
India will join arch-rivals Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and debutants Afghanistan in the tournament that will start on February 25 and run until March 8.
India will begin their campaign with a match against Sri Lanka on February 28, before locking horns with Pakistan on March 2.
Dhoni’s captaincy has been a subject of intense criticism following India’s 0-1 defeat in the two-match Test series in New Zealand. While former India skipper Sourav Ganguly called Dhoni’s captaincy “obnoxious”, Rahul Dravid termed it defensive.
India have lost their last four series abroad starting with the 4-0 rout suffered in England and ending with the loss to New Zealand on Tuesday.
Away from home, Dhoni has captained India in 23 Tests, of which they have won five, lost 11 and drawn seven.