India all-rounder Axar Patel will be conspicuously absent from the Asia Cup final clash against Sri Lanka this Sunday (September 17). Washington Sundar, another all-rounder hailing from Tamil Nadu, has received a coveted call-up to join the squad as replacement for Patel in anticipation of the crucial match.
Patel's absence stems from a quadricep injury sustained during his determined batting performance in the high-stakes match against Bangladesh. Despite battling excruciating pain, Patel showcased immense grit, crafting a valuable 42-run contribution from 34 balls in a valiant effort to keep India's hopes alive.
Regrettably, Axar's heroic effort was cut short in the penultimate over when he attempted a colossal hit but met his match. India's hopes, too, were thwarted, as they narrowly lost the contest to Bangladesh by a margin of six runs.
In the lead-up to the Asia Cup final, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) provided an official update on Axar Patel's fitness status through a media release. It stated:
“Mr. Axar Patel has been ruled out of the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka due to a left quadriceps strain sustained during the Super Four match against Bangladesh on Friday. The Men’s Selection Committee has named Mr. Washington Sundar as a replacement. The all-rounder arrived in Colombo this evening and has joined the squad.”
🚨 NEWS: Washington Sundar replaces Axar Patel— BCCI (@BCCI) September 16, 2023
Mr. Axar Patel has been ruled out of the #AsiaCup2023 final against Sri Lanka due to a left quadriceps strain sustained during India's Super Four match against Bangladesh on Friday. #TeamIndia
The Indian team roster for the Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka now comprises a formidable lineup: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, and Washington Sundar.
Washington Sundar could become a wildcard entry: Aakash Chopra
Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra has offered an intriguing perspective on the composition of the Indian World Cup squad, particularly in regard to the bowling attack, after Sundar's induction into the Asia Cup Final squad. Chopra hinted at the possibility of Sundar emerging as a late wild-card selection. In a video on his YouTube channel, Chopra remarked:
“If he picks up wickets with his off-spin and scores runs whenever he gets to bat, although he might not get batting here – if all of that happens, then Washington Sundar – tempting option. There is no off-spinner in the team. So this could be a change, there can be a wildcard entry.”
For now, all eyes will be on the Asia Cup Final. If Sundar gets a chance to play here and delivers a good all-round performance, he might well seal a World Cup berth for himself.