A right knee injury has ended Ravindra Jadeja
's Asia Cup campaign. Axar Patel
, who was initially named as a stand-by player, will join India's main squad as a like-for-like replacement.
This is not the first time Jadeja has been troubled by his right knee. An injury to the same joint had forced him to miss the ODI leg of India's tour of the West Indies in July. The BCCI press statement that announced the latest injury did not specify its severity or estimate a recovery window.
India will hope Jadeja can recover quickly, with the men's T20 World Cup in Australia less than two months away. Before that, they will complete the Asia Cup and play bilateral home series against Australia and South Africa.
Jadeja was a key performer in both of India's matches at the Asia Cup so far. Against Pakistan
, he bowled two economical overs before being promoted to No. 4 in India's chase of 148, specifically since he was the only left-hand batter in India's top seven. He steered India towards victory with a 29-ball 35, and ensured that Pakistan held back left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz's fourth over until the final over of the match. Against Hong Kong
, he dismissed top-scorer Babar Hayat and only gave away 15 runs in his four overs.
Axar is a similar player to Jadeja, batting left-handed and bowling economical left-arm spin, and has filled in for the senior allrounder on many occasions. But given the importance of Jadeja's role, how well Axar slots into it could be key to India's progress through the Super 4s stage of the Asia Cup and beyond.
Among the three stand-by players - Shreyas Iyer and Deepak Chahar are the others - only Chahar has been in Dubai, training with the team. Axar will fly in on Friday night to join the team.
Hardik trains alone after sitting out Hong Kong match
was the only India player to undergo a training session at the ICC Academy on Thursday, even as the rest of the team enjoyed a day off. Hardik was accompanied by Soham Desai, the trainer, and Paras Mhambrey, the bowling coach.
Hardik began by doing light sprints and stretching exercises that were monitored by Desai, before he went through a short bowling session. Hardik's workload is being monitored closely by the team management. His bowling sessions, especially, have tended be short and sharp.
He was Player of the Match in India's win over Pakistan, before being rested for the game against Hong Kong. He also opted to rest from training before the game along with Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
India's next match is on Sunday, against the winner of Friday night's match between Pakistan and Hong Kong.