India's floundering campaign in the ongoing series against England suffered another massive blow today as pace spearhead Zaheer Khan was ruled out of the remainder of the tour after failing to recover from a hamstring strain and an ankle injury.
"Zaheer Khan is suffering from a recurrent right hamstring strain and a right ankle impingement. He will require a surgery for his ankle, followed by intensive rehabilitation for both the ankle and hamstring," the BCCI said in a statement.
"He will need at least 14-16 weeks to recover completely. He will therefore not be able to participate in the ongoing Test series and subsequent Twenty20 International and ODI series against England," it added.
Medium pacer RP Singh, whose last Test appearance for India was in 2008 against South Africa, has been called to replace Zaheer in the Test, ODI and the Twenty20 squads.
The limited overs series starts on August 31 with the one off T20 match.
"The All-India Senior Selection Committee has picked RP Singh as his replacement in the Indian squads for the Test series, and the T20 International and ODI series. RP Singh will join the team at the earliest," the BCCI said.
The 25-year-old R P has been out of favour for quite a while and his last ODI appearance was in 2009 against Pakistan in the Champions Trophy.
Zaheer, who walked off the pitch following a hamstring strain on the opening day of the first cricket Test at Lord's on July 21, was expected to be fit for the August 10-14 match at Birmingham.
He played in the just-concluded two-day practice match against Northamptonshire to test his fitness. The 32-year-old opened the Indian attack but bowled only three overs, conceding 24 runs before walking off the field, raising a question mark over his fitness.
Zaheer's injury setback comes close on the heels of off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and batsman Yuvraj Singh being ruled out due to injuries in what is turning out to be a disastrous tour for India.
On the brighter side openers Virender Sehwag, who missed the first two Tests due to a shoulder injury, and Gautam Gambhir are expected to be part of the line-up for the third match.
The world number one Test side is trailing 0-2 in the four-match series.