Aditya Thakare has been called up to India's Under-19 World Cup squad as cover for the injured Ishan Porel. The Vidarbha fast bowler, one of five stand-bys for the squad, is set to fly to New Zealand on Wednesday.
Porel injured his left ankle in India's tournament opener against Australia, in which he could bowl just 4.1 overs. He spent the rest of the innings off the field and did not train ahead of India's second game, against Papua New Guinea, either.
"It's hard to predict how long he'll take to recover, but we're looking at giving him every opportunity to be a part of the campaign again, because this is what he's worked for," a member of India's support staff told ESPNcricinfo. "We're looking to possibly having him fit in time for the quarter-finals. It could take five days, sometimes seven days. At the moment, he won't play the game against Zimbabwe either."
Thakare made his first-class debut in the Ranji Trophy final in December 2017, when Vidarbha beat Delhi. While he managed to pick up just two wickets, he impressed with his late swing and accuracy with both the new and old ball. After the game, Vidarbha coach Chandrakant Pandit admitted to having been apprehensive of exposing Thakare in a pressure game, but expressed surprise at his ability after Vidarbha's maiden title triumph.
On Monday, the Vidarbha Cricket Association was asked to provide a report on Thakare's fitness by the BCCI, following which he was asked not to be considered for any ongoing matches. The call-up means he will miss the Cooch Behar Trophy semi-finals against Karnataka in Nagpur starting Friday.
With an Under-19 Trophy in sight, the Vidarbha Cricket Association chose to field him in the junior tournament instead of playing him in the zonal leg of the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the domestic T20 competition. He was part of India's Under-19 squad for the Asia Cup in Malaysia last year, but didn't feature in the playing XI.
Thakare is only the second player from Vidarbha to be picked in India's Under-19 World Cup squad. Faiz Fazal, the Vidarbha captain, was part of the 2004 edition, but had to return after fracturing his thumb in a warm-up game. Fazal was replaced by Shikhar Dhawan, who went on to become the tournament's leading run-scorer.