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KL Rahul and Axar Patel ruled out of T20Is against West Indies

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Hooda brought in as replacements

Shashank Kishore
Shashank Kishore
KL Rahul did damage to his left hamstring during the second ODI against West Indies  •  BCCI

KL Rahul did damage to his left hamstring during the second ODI against West Indies  •  BCCI

India vice-captain KL Rahul and allrounder Axar Patel will miss the upcoming three T20Is against West Indies in Kolkata starting on February 16. Ruturaj Gaikwad, who has recovered completely from Covid-19, and Deepak Hooda have been named as their replacements in India's 18-member squad.
Rahul sustained an upper left hamstring strain while fielding during the second ODI on Wednesday. The injury also prevented his participation in Friday's final ODI. Axar is recovering from Covid-19 and is in his "final stage of rehabilitation", as per a BCCI statement.
Axar was the only member from India's T20I squad who hadn't joined India's extended biosecure bubble in Ahmedabad - comprising members from both limited-overs squads - ahead of their departure to Kolkata on Saturday evening. Both Axar and Rahul will head to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for further management of their injuries.
Gaikwad's addition leaves India with three opening options alongside captain Rohit Sharma. They also have Ishan Kishan, who is the second wicketkeeper, and Venkatesh Iyer, the allrounder who has had much of his T20 success in recent times as an opener for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL.
Gaikwad is capped in the format, having featured in two T20Is on the tour of Sri Lanka last July. His exploits in IPL 2021 have accelerated his journey to India's white-ball squads. He ended the previous season with a chart-topping 635 runs at an average of 45.35 and strike rate of 136.26.
Having debuted in ODIs during the ongoing ODIs against West Indies, Hooda was in prolific form for Rajasthan in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the domestic T20 competition, where he finished as the highest run-getter for the team. His 294 runs, including four half-centuries, came at a strike rate of 168. Hooda previously made it to India's T20I squad for the home series against Sri Lanka in 2017. He was also part of India's squad for the Nidahas series in Sri Lanka the following year.
The Indian camp had faced issues due to Covid-19 ahead of the ODIs as well, when seven members, including four players - Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Gaikwad and reserve fast bowler Navdeep Saini - tested positive.
Axar had missed India's preceding ODI assignment too, in South Africa, reportedly for a stress-related injury.
India's T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Bishnoi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Hooda.

Shashank Kishore is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo