Indian all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is in line to make his ODI comeback after being included in the squad following injuries to Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel and Shardul Thakur in the ongoing Asia Cup in UAE.
With the trio getting ruled out, seamers Deepak Chahar and Siddarth Kaul join Jadeja as their replacements and are expected to join the squad on Thursday (September 20).
Pandya suffered an acute lower back spasm during India’s group game against Pakistan on Wednesday. In his follow through while bowling the 18th over of the innings, Pandya seemed to have felt something in his back. He then lay flat on the ground for a long time as players surrounded and checked on him. Indian physio Patrick Farhart ran out to attend to the all-rounder, after which he had to be stretchered off.
Pandya was able to stand up once he was back in the dressing room and was made to work on his shoulder and back movements and was monitored by the BCCI medical staff, only to be ruled out of the ongoing tournament the next day.
Chahar, who recently made his debut in international cricket in England, has seemingly got the nod as Pandya’s replacement because of his big-hitting abilities since India do not have a like-for-like replacement. He also had an impressive IPL season for eventual champions Chennai Super Kings, picking up 10 wickets in 12 games at an economy of 7.28.
Thakur, on the other hand, experienced soreness in his right hip and groin after India’s tight win over Hong Kong in their first game of the tournament, following which he has been ruled out. Kaul, who recently played in the limited-overs series in England, earns a recall in his place.
Axar, who has been with the Indian limited-overs squads for a while as the third spinner, injured his left index finger while fielding against Pakistan with the subsequent scan results showing a tendon tear. Jadeja, who has been sidelined from the limited overs squads since the emergence of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, will replace Axar in the squad. The 29-year-old last played an ODI in July 2017, against Windies.
The team management might now be forced to tinker with the combination in the Super 4 stage following Pandya’s injury. Jadeja’s inclusion will certainly shore up the batting line-up but that would mean the attack will wear a spin heavy look. While Chahar can come in as the third seamer and can be entrusted with the task of bowling 10 overs, it remains to be seen how much confidence the management has in his abilities as a potential No. 7.