Axar Patel has been roped in to replace Ravindra Jadeja for the India vs Sri Lanka 3rd Test match beginning on Saturday August 12 at Balagolla, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed on Wednesday.
"The All-India Senior Selection Committee on Tuesday named Axar Patel as the replacement for Ravindra Jadeja in the team for the 3rd Test, which starts from August 12, 2017, at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium," mentioned the Indian cricket board in a statement.
This is the first time that Axar Patel has been called up to the Team India squad for a Test match. Jadeja, who topped the all-rounders list, as released by the ICC on Tuesday, has been one of the key players for the India cricket team in the last two Test matches.
Axar, if given a chance to take to the field for the 3rd Test, definitely has big shoes to fill.
Why Jadeja is not playing the 3rd Test
Fret not, the 'sword master' -- the new name given by Virat Kohli to Jadeja -- doesn't have any major injury. He is actually suspended by the ICC for one match, after piling up demerit points. This happened after the swashbucking all-rounder breached the ICC Code of Conduct during the second Test match in Colombo.
What really happened: During the second Test, the match officials -- Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker (on-field umpires), Richard Illingworth (third umpire) and Ruchira Palliyaguruge (fourth umpire) -- ruled Jadeja was playing in a dangerous manner.
This happened after the Indian all-rounder tried making a run out during Sri Lanka's second innings in the match. Although the batsman Malinda Pushpakumara never really got out of his crease, Jadeja had launched his ball and it just missed the player by a whisker.
He soon picked up "demerit points", which totalled up to six within a 2-year period. As a result, he was not only fined 50% of the match fee but also earned a suspension for the next match.
How good really is Axar Patel?
To be honest, the 23-year-old Gujarati all-rounder may not have a lot of international exposure but he surely is one of the stars in the domestic scene.
Axar, a lanky left-arm orthodox spinner, has just finished plying his trade for the India A side in the tri-series against South Africa A and Afghanistan A in South Africa. India A won the final on Tuesday August 8 against the hosts.
Axar finished the series with a total of seven wickets from four games and his best figures were 3/33 against Afghanistan A.
"Axar is someone who can do a Jadeja with the bat too, though he averages just 14.16 and has a highest score of 38 in ODIs," revealed a team official to the Times of India.
"If India stick to playing two spinners [Ashwin and Axar] in Pallekele, something which they have do make the ball bounce as much as Jadeja, which is what we're looking for. He can be dangerous in these conditions."
Axar Patel's sojourn with the India cricket team so far:
ODI appearances: 30
T20I appearances: 7