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Team India fly in Axar Patel as last minute backup

Axar Patel
Axar Patel of India. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The Indian team had a sort of an emergency situation ahead of the fifth Test against England in Chennai. On the eve of the Test match, they realized their premier bowler left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja wasn’t feeling really comfortable and they didn’t have a backup in the team to cover for him. Late on Thursday (December 15) the Indian team management decided to fly in another left-arm spinner Gujarat’s Axar Patel to join the team.

There was no official announcement from the BCCI and wasn’t conveyed to the media either but when Axar appeared on the field as a substitute it was discovered that Jadeja probably had a niggle and they needed another spinner as a backup just in case he wasn’t ready for the game. On the morning of the match though, Jadeja who is one of the fittest players in the Indian setup to much relief of skipper Virat Kohli and coach Anil Kumble passed the fitness Test and was fit to play the game.

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Axar had to join the team at a short notice and has been fielding as a substitute fielder here and there for the last two days. The lanky spinner has been a part of the Indian limited-overs squad for a few occasions in the past though he could never seal his place with Jadeja being the preferred option always. He is yet to make his Test debut for India but with the form the Saurashtra all-rounder is in, it looks unlikely that he will get a chance any time in near future.

Jadeja recovered quite well from the niggle and was at his best when skipper Virat Kohli handed him the ball early in the morning. He was brought in as the first change bowler and he had the English skipper in trouble immediately. In the middle of a brilliant spell, he scalped Cook and gave England another early blow. Jaddu ended the innings with 3 wickets and will have an important role to play in the next few days.

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