The BCCI confirmed on Saturday that Axar Patel has been ruled out of the Asia Cup final due to a strain caused by Washington Sundar’s inclusion in the squad.
Just before the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka on Sunday, Washington Sundar joined the Indian team at Colombo at the last minute, bolstering the squad’s strength. He replaced all-rounder Axar Patel, who sustained multiple wrist and arm injuries while batting during Friday’s match against Bangladesh, which India lost by six runs.
The BCCI announced on Saturday evening that during the Super Four match against Bangladesh, Axar suffered a strain in his left quadriceps, which ruled him out of contention for the final.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik had hinted at this development much earlier through a cryptic tweet, even before the news became official.
In the meantime, Washington Sundar had assured earlier that there was no major concern with Axar and termed the injury as “temporary.”
After the match against Bangladesh, when asked about Axar’s condition, Sundar stated during a press conference, “I don’t think there is anything wrong with Axar. I think it was temporary, and there’s nothing to worry about.”
Axar Patel’s bowling form has been a cause for concern
However, assessing Axar’s current form, it’s challenging to determine whether his injury is a blessing or a setback for the Indian team. Although he has been performing well as a batsman, it’s his bowling that has raised questions regarding his inclusion.
Axar was given a chance in the Super Four stage against Sri Lanka, where he bowled 9 overs and remained wicketless, conceding 42 runs. Despite India opting for a three-spinner attack on a spin-friendly track, he was entrusted with only five overs to bowl during Bangladesh’s innings in the previous match and couldn’t claim a wicket.
In contrast, Washington Sundar showed promise on spin-friendly tracks during the same match against Bangladesh, where spinners had a significant impact. Despite India’s decision to go with a three-pronged spin attack, he was asked to bowl just five overs and managed to pick up one wicket while conceding 29 runs.
Next up, Sundar is likely to join the rest of the team members after the Asia Cup final. He is also part of the Asian Games squad, which will gather in Bengaluru for a two-week preparatory camp ahead of the tournament.
Sundar could prove valuable during his off-breaks, especially against the left-handed Sri Lankan batsmen at the top order, given his experience in bowling in the powerplay overs. It remains to be seen whether he makes a direct entry into the playing eleven or not.