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Ashish Nehra has fractured the middle finger on his right hand putting a question mark over his selection for the final against Sri Lanka on Saturday. Ranjib Biswal, the Indian team manager, confirmed the development but said the team would only take a call on Friday about whether or not he could play. "Nehra has a fractured finger, which was revealed from the scans taken this morning," Biswal said. But Gautam Gambhir, who went off the field during Pakistan's innings in the semi-final having felt some pain and did not return, is expected to be fit for the final. Biswal said they would clarify the position on Gambhir tomorrow.
Nehra picked up the injury while attempting a catch against Pakistan. He was fielding at deep midwicket when he attempted to pick up a pull by Shahid Afridi against Yuvraj Singh. Nehra, not known so much for his deftness in the field, charged forward to pick the ball that was dying on him at the very last minute. Replays confirmed the ball had bounced in front of him but Nehra's attempt drew applause from his team-mates as well as the fullhouse. Unfortunately, Nehra was grimacing in pain and immediately had his finger taped.
Since the injury was on his non-bowling hand, Nehra was able to get through three more overs in the match. However, there are worries he will not be able to field.
It was a bit of a surprise to see Nehra in the first XI during the semi-final, given that the man he replaced, R Ashwin, had been impressive in the two matches he had played in the tournament. Despite Nehra's performance of 2 for 33, and Munaf Patel's 2 for 40, India captain MS Dhoni said after the game that India had misjudged the pitch and should have played another spinner.
Ashwin may well have returned in place of either Nehra or Munaf for the final in any case, and will almost definitely be in the side if Nehra does not recover. The only other pace option India have is Sreesanth, who has been left on the sidelines since the first game of the tournament.
Nehra had missed the first two matches of the tournament with a sore back and was brought in for the group-stage game against Netherlands. Against South Africa in Nagpur, he went for 65 runs in 8.4 overs, 16 off which were scored in the last over of the game, consigning India to defeat. He was then left out for India's next two games, before returning for the semi-final.