With pacer Ishant Sharma reportedly uncertain for the first Test against England following a viral infection, the Indian cricket board Tuesday asked Ashok Dinda to join the squad, two days before the match begins in Ahmedabad.
"I got an SOS that asked me to join the Indian team in Ahmedabad. I shall be with the team on Wednesday morning," Dinda said.
The call came to the Bengal cricketer when he had just boarded a flight to Kolkata from Chandigarh after Bengal's disastrous Ranji match against Punjab. Bengal went down by a humiliating innings and 27 runs.
There was, however, no official confirmation from the Board of Control for Cricket in India about Sharma's availability. It was also hazy as to whether Dinda has been called in as Sharma's replacement or cover.
Dinda's coach Ataldeb Burman called it his best Diwali gift. "He called me up to give the good news. I am very happy."
"When he was repeatedly ignored I used to tell him not to lose heart. Given a chance, he will do well. I am confident. His line and length has vastly improved now. He has reaped rich dividends for his dedication," Burman said.