Left-arm spinner Axar Patel is likely to be summoned as the 15th member of the Indian team due to Ravindra Jadeja's suspension from the third Test against Sri Lanka, starting August 12. While Kuldeep is a certainty in the playing XI for the final Test match, the team management wants to keep a cover for the young chinaman bowler. Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad is currently in Pallekele for the third Test and is expected to take a call after discussions with coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli. Axar is currently in South Africa, where he is playing the tri-nation one-day series of the 'A' teams. While Axar will be travelling with the Indian team in Sri Lanka, off-spinner Jayant Yadav is expected to stay back as cover. "Since Axar will be finishing his one day engagements by Tuesday evening, he can join the team by Thursday (August 10). It was a toss up between Axar and Jayant but Axar is a like for like replacement in absence of Jadeja. In any case he (Axar) will be a cover as Kuldeep will be playing," a BCCI official, who can't be officially quoted, told PTI today. Jayant was selected for the South Africa A tour but currently is in India as he recently lost his father.
He is expected to be given time to recover from personal tragedy. "If one looks at how the selectors have gone about their job, the four premier Test spinners during home series were Ravichandran Ashwin, Jadeja, Jayant and Kuldeep. Kuldeep is ahead in pecking order," the official said. Meanwhile, senior left-hander Suresh Raina will be appearing for a fitness Test at the National Cricket Academy. "After months of hard work it's time for an evaluation. Off to NCA! Looking forward," tweeted Raina. Raina's appearance for a fitness test keeps him in contention for a place in the Sri Lanka bound ODI squad along with A team skipper Manish Pandey, who has had a fabulous tri-series in South Africa. Yuvraj Singh and Rishabh Pant may have to make way in the limited overs squad. Raina was among the five standbys for the Champions Trophy.
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