Uncapped left-arm spinner Axar Patel has been called into India’s Test squad in place of suspended spinner Ravindra Jadeja for the third and final Test against Sri Lanka in Pallekele.
Patel is currently in South Africa, where he has been playing for India A in the tri-series against South Africa A and Afghanistan A. While left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav looms as the likely replacement for Jadeja in the India XI, Patel will rush to Sri Lanka to link up with the squad ahead of the start of the third Test on Saturday.
His call-up comes as reward for a strong tri-series campaign, which has seen him collect six wickets at 15.30, including 3-33 against Afghanistan A. The 23-year-old has played 30 one-day internationals and seven T20Is, with his last outing at international level coming in a one-dayer against New Zealand last October.
Jadeja, who has now flown home to India, was suspended for the third Test after picking up demerit points for a Code of Conduct breach during the second Test in Colombo. The world’s No.1 Test bowler and allrounder in the ICC rankings had been India’s day-four hero, collecting a five-wicket haul to help his side to victory.
But an incident in the 58th over of Sri Lanka’s second innings on Saturday saw Jadeja get stung with a Code of Conduct breach that pushed his demerit points over the limit. After fielding off his own bowling, Jadeja threw the ball back at batsman Malinda Pushpakumara, narrowly missing the Sri Lankan.
The batsman, who had made no move to take a run, had to dodge quickly and it left wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha shaking off a sore left wrist after a rushed attempted stop. The throw was deemed to be “in a dangerous manner” by the on-field umpires Rod Tucker and Bruce Oxenford, who was standing at the bowler’s end and was quick to admonish Jadeja.
Jadeja received a fine of 50 per cent of his match fee, and also received three demerit points. Those three points, plus the three points he received for running on the pitch four times during last October’s Indore Test against New Zealand, earned him a ban for the Pallekele Test through the ICC’s Code of Conduct.