Hardik, Axar, Shardul all out of Asia Cup with injury

Injury woes have led to Ravindra Jadeja’s return to the India ODI squad, more than a year after he last featured in a 50-over game for India. He will fly in to the Asia Cup as a replacement for fellow left-arm-spin-bowling allrounder Axar Patel.

“Axar injured his left index finger while fielding as a substitute during Wednesday’s clash against Pakistan. Subsequent scans revealed a tendon tear,” a BCCI press release stated.

Deepak Chahar, meanwhile, was named Hardik Pandya’s replacement. Pandya has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament due to “acute lower back spasms” that he first experienced during the game against Pakistan. He was stretchered off after bowling just 4.5 overs and didn’t return.

The injury could also put Pandya in doubt for the West Indies series that is set to start six days after the conclusion of the Asia Cup. Given the series is at home, where India usually field two spinners, the team management may not fret over Pandya’s injury as they have a ready all-round option in Jadeja.

Earlier this month, Jadeja returned to the India Test XI in England after not being picked for the first four Tests. He responded with a match haul of 7 for 258 and a career-best 90 in the first innings.

Hardik Pandya is stretchered off the field Associated Press

Chahar, Pandya’s replacement, made his India debut during the T20Is against England in July, after he was flown in as a late replacement for Japrit Bumrah following his finger injury in Ireland. Chahar forced his way into contention after a breakout IPL season for Chennai Super Kings, where he picked up 10 wickets in 12 games at an economy of 7.28. He was also part of India A’s limited-overs squad that toured England in June.

India’s third change is in the fast-bowling department after Shardul Thakur complained of “right hip and groin soreness after the game against Hong Kong”. Thakur bowled four wicketless overs, including a 10-ball third over that went for 17 runs. Prior to the game against Hong Kong, Shardul featured in the final ODI of the England series and then warmed the bench in all the five Tests that followed.

Siddarth Kaul, who was in Dubai until two days ago as a nets bowler for the Indian team, is set to return to the UAE. He had flown home a little over 48 hours ago to play for Punjab in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, India’s premier domestic 50-over competition, and picked up 4 for 55 for Punjab against Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday. Like Chahar, Kaul also made his ODI debut during the tour of England earlier this year.

All three players, who didn’t feature in their teams’ respective Vijay Hazare matches on Thursday, are expected to arrive in Dubai later in the evening.

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