London: Virender Sehwag, who missed the first two Tests because of a shoulder injury, is set to join the beleaguered Indian team on Wednesday even as the team management declared that opener Gautam Gambhir was fully fit for the next match.
Sehwag will join his teammates on Wednesday and is expected to play the two-day game against Northamptonshire to check his fitness ahead of the third Test beginning at Birmingham on August 10.
The Indian team, trailing the four-match series 0-2 and battling with injuries to key players, got a boost with Gambhir being declared fit for the game. Gambhir sat out of the second Test because of an elbow injury.
"Gambhir has recovered from the injury. He is sure for the next Test," Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.
The Indians are hopeful that pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, who was also ruled out of the second Test because of a hamstring strain, will be fit for the third.
Zaheer has started light practice sessions and will have to prove his fitness in the two-day game against Northamptonshire as it is unlikely that the Indians will risk selecting him without assessing his fitness.
Sehwag's arrival will serve as a big morale-booster for the embattled team which has not really lived upto its reputation as the number one Test side.
The 32-year-old opener, who missed the series in the West Indies and the first two Tests in England because of a shoulder surgery that had ruled him out for at least two months, is expected to bolster India's batting.
India crashed to a humiliating 319-run defeat with a day to spare in the second Test at Trent Bridge yesterday to give England a 2-0 lead in the series. They also lost the first Test at Lord's by 196 runs.
Now India will have to win at least one of the remaining two Tests to prevent England from snatching away their number one Test ranking.
Sehwag, who has scored 7,694 runs in 87 Tests at an average of 53.43 with 22 three-figure knocks including two triple centuries, would get just one warm-up game to acclimatise to the conditions here.
In the absence of Sehwag and at times Gautam Gambhir, India tried three different opening combinations.
The pair of Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund opened the innings in the three-match Test series in the West Indies that India won 1-0. Vijay, however, failed to make a mark in the Caribbean, scoring just 72 runs in three Tests.
However, Mukund, who had made his debut in that series, impressed with 147 runs.
As a result, he opened with Gambhir in the first Test against England at Lord's, but after the Delhi opener was declared unfit to play in the second Test, Mukund faced the new ball in Rahul Dravid's company.
But so far nothing has clicked with England's bowlers having completely dominated their batsmen.
Apart from Dravid and VVS Laxman, most of the Indian batsmen have struggled to find their form.