Balaji returns to Team India

Mumbai: Tamil Nadu fast bowler Laxmipathy Balaji is set to join the Indian team for their ongoing ODI series against Sri Lanka after Munaf Patel was rendered unfit on Monday due to a groin injury.

Munaf is to return home for rehabilitation and will take at least 7 to 10 days to be fully fit.

The team management has asked for a replacement. The members of the National Selection Committee decided to send Balaji to Sri Lanka, following a teleconference.

Balaji will fly to Sri Lanka tonight. Balaji last played for India in a one-day match against Sri Lanka in August 2005, before his career was interrupted by a stress fracture in his back.

He has claimed 34 wickets in 29 ODIs in his career that was disrupted due to a career-threatening injury in 2005.

Balaji enjoyed a fabulous season in the Ranji Trophy 2008-09 – claiming 36 wickets at 17.50 – including four 5-wicket hauls. He bowled Tamil Nadu to victory in the quarter-final against Bengal with a spell of 6-24 in the second innings.

Balaji, who made his India debut in November 2002, has so far taken 27 wickets in eight Tests and 34 wickets in 29 one-dayers.

Balaji will reach Colombo later on Monday and will be available for the third one-dayer at the Premadasa stadium on Tuesday.

India leads the five-match series 2-0.


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