Ravindra Jadeja has been ruled out of the first two Tests against England at Chennai due to the fractured thumb he sustained in the Sydney Test. Axar Patel has been named in the Test squad for the first time in his career and he is seen as the like-for-like replacement of Jadeja. The all-rounder from Gujarat has the left-arm variety which makes him almost an automatic pick in the team, but who are the other players who could potentially replace Ravindra Jadeja in this Test series? Let’s find out.
After a dream debut to his Test career down under, Washington Sundar will be riding high on confidence coming into this series. The first two Tests are going to be played in Chepauk, Chennai which happens to be Sundar’s home ground. If given a chance, the bowling all-rounder would look to contribute both with the bat and the ball. The only thing going against Sundar’s selection would be that he too is an off-spinner and for some variety in the attack, the team management might back Axar Patel or Kuldeep Yadav.
Virat Kohli explicitly mentioned in Australia that if Hardik Pandya needs to come back in the Test team then the all-rounder needs to contribute with the ball as well. After being selected in the Test squad, it seems like Pandya is back to his bowling fitness and can contribute as the third seamer in the team. His batting ability is second to none and can be the x-factor India need in this series.
Another player who had a dream Test at the Gabba, Shardul Thakur would look to make that bowling all-rounder spot his own in the coming few matches. He showed in Australia that he is no mug with the bat and in Indian conditions especially, he can be a decent all-rounder. He was the only bowler in Brisbane who found some conventional swing and if picked in the XI then expect him to share the new ball with Jasprit Bumrah.
Lastly, the like-for-like replacement for Jadeja, Axar Patel seems to be in the driver’s seat for that bowling all-rounder spot in the playing XI. Patel, who has represented India in 38 ODIs and 11 T20Is, is yet to play a Test, though he has 134 wickets and has scored 1,665 runs at 35.42 in 39 first-class matches. His stats make him a genuine all-rounder and his ability to take the game away from the opposition in a session or so makes him special.
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