Axar Patel ruled out of first Test against England with knee injury


Spinners Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar added to India’s squad

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel has been ruled out of the first India-England Test in Chennai with a knee injury. A BCCI statement said Patel, who is also handy with the bat down the order, felt “pain in his left knee during Team India’s optional training session on Thursday”, and while “detailed reports are awaited”, he will not be fit to play the first game.

The BCCI added two other spin options to India’s squad in left-armer Shahbaz Nadeem and legspinner Rahul Chahar. Both bowlers had already been on stand-by and training with the team, so they will already be part of the bio-secure bubble.

Nadeem brings immense experience with him. Having played 117 first-class games, he has 443 wickets in the format, 83 of which have come for India A at an average of under 30. Despite all that, he has played just the one Test though, against South Africa in Ranchi in 2019, finishing with match figures of 4 for 40.

Chahar, 21, on the other hand, has only 17 first-class games to his name after debuting in the format in 2016. But he offers a legspin option and is coming off an IPL in which he showcased some fearless tactics. He finished the IPL with 15 wickets at 28.86 for Mumbai Indians. Following the IPL, in the recently concluded domestic T20s, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he claimed 11 wickets in five games for Rajasthan.

While India did not name a playing XI on match eve, captain Virat Kohli did confirm Rishabh Pant will keep.

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