Axar Patel was included in the Indian squad for the 2nd Test match against Sri Lanka© AFP
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was earlier included in India’s squad for the upcoming Test match against Sri Lanka in Bengaluru and if picked, Axar will have a chance to try and equal a 133-year-old record in Test cricket. The day and night Test match will give Rohit Sharma’s Team India a chance to wrap up the 2-match series after a comprehensive win in the 1st Test at Mohali earlier this month.
India played Jayant Yadav as the third spinner in the first Test along with Rvichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, but Axar’s availability could mean he gets a go in this match.
Axar made a terrific start to his Test career last year as he spun a web around English batters to help India bounce back in the home series, finishing with 27 wickets in the series. He then played against New Zealand anf picked up a fifer in the first innings of the first Test in Kanpur. This put Axar in a great position to become the fastest to the 50-wicket mark in Test cricket.
But his next three innings produced only 4 wickets and that means Axar now has 36 wickets in his kitty after 5 Test matches.
The record for the fastest 50 wickets in Test cricket was achieved by Australian Charles Turner in the year 1880 and he had taken 6 Test matches to reach the milestone.
South Africa’s Vernon Philander had come close to equalling or breaking the record but he reached the 50-wicket mark in his 7th Test.
Axar needs to pick 14 wickets in his next Test match to equal the record, which has stood the Test of time.
It will be interesting to see whether he gets selected for the match or not and even if he does, Axar will face stiff challenge from Ashwin and Jadeja, who are known for picking up a bagful of wickets in home conditions.
But it will be worth a shot for Axar, who will look to cement his place in the team as the third choice spinner whenever India play a Test match at home.