Sri Lanka vs India 2017: Axar Patel or Jayant Yadav could be included as cover for third Test
What’s the story?
The Indian team might rope in one of Axar Patel or Jayant Yadav as a replacement for the suspended Ravindra Jadeja for the last Test of their ongoing series against Sri Lanka.
"Since Axar will be finishing his one-day engagements by Tuesday evening, he can join the team by Thursday [August 10]. Logically, he is a like for like replacement in the absence of Jadeja," an unnamed BCCI official told PTI.
In case you didn’t know…
Ravindra Jadeja was suspended from the series’ third Test at Pallekele, following an accumulation of demerit points that had reached six in a 24-month period. He consequently breached the ICC Code of Conduct in the second Test, and was also fined 50% of his match fee.
The heart of the matter
With Jadeja’s absence confirmed, the Indian team are likely to field Kuldeep Yadav as the second spinner to Ravichandran Ashwin. As is the case on most international tours, the BCCI is likely to fly in a cover for one of the spinners.
Axar Patel, with his strong domestic credentials, has been on the fringes of national selection, and has been named as Jadeja’s cover on previous tours. Yadav, who had been selected for India A's tour of South Africa, recently lost his father, and is currently in
MSK Prasad, chairman of the selection committee, is currently in Pallekele and will take a call on the same after having discussions with coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli.
Another possible candidate to join the team in Sri Lanka is Jayant Yadav, who is currently with the India-A side in South Africa. Unlike Patel, Jayant has Test experience, and featured in the series against England last year, something that might work to his advantage.
If one of Axar or Jayant is indeed selected, he will be flown out to Sri Lanka to join the squad for the final Test, scheduled to start from August 12.
While it is unfortunate that Jadeja, currently sitting pretty atop the ICC Test rankings for bowlers, will have to miss the concluding Test, it will open up an opportunity for Kuldeep Yadav to display his prowess, just like he did on his debut against Australia earlier this year.
His cover, one of either Jayant of Axar, might not get a place in the starting XI, but a nod to join the team will help a long way in giving a confidence boost and making the player realise that he is very much on the selectors’ radar.