In what is a massive boost for Team India, the Board of Contol for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced that left-arm spinner Axar Patel has recovered from his knee injury and is available for selection for the second Test against England.
As a result, Axar Patel has been added to the squad while the duo of Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar have been withdrawn from the main squad. The duo is back among the group of reserve players chosen prior to the series.
With Ravindra Jadeja injured, Axar Patel was being looked at as the latter’s closest possible replacement. The Gujarat cricketer was scheduled to make his Test match debut in the series opener but was ruled out hours before the toss after he complained of a niggle during the training sessions.
As a result, India went in with Shahbaz Nadeem as the 2nd choice spinner.
The move proved to be disastrous as Nadeem failed to rise to the occasion. As if the pitch wasn’t helping the bowlers during the first two days wasn’t enough, Nadeem made things more difficult for himself and for the team due to the lack of discipline in his bowling.
Neither he had any control on his line and length, nor did he have any control on his front foot landing as he continued to bowl no-ball after no-ball. Overall, Shahbaz Nadeem conceded as many as 233 runs in 59 overs across two innings for his four wickets.
It will be interesting to see what playing 11 that Team India fields in the next Test. Virat Kohli was vocal about the lack of support from Washington Sundar and Shahbaz Nadeem in the last Test.
And, so with Axar Patel available and Kuldeep Yadav waiting for an elusive opportunity, it remains to be seen as to whether the Indian team-management goes with wicket-taking options and draft both of them in the playing 11 or will they go with the defensive approach and pick one out of Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav.
The second Test between India and England starts on February 13.