India vs West Indies: Rahul, Axar ruled out of T20Is
India's top-order batsman KL Rahul and spin-bowling all-rounder Axar Patel have been ruled out of the upcoming T20I series against West Indies. The news was confirmed on Friday by BCCI on their website. Rahul was not a part of India's playing XI in the third ODI against the Caribbean outfit as Men in Blue defeated WI by 96 runs to take the series 3-0.
Why does this story matter?
After sweeping the ODI series, the focus now shifts to T20Is. However, ahead of the start of the event, India have been served a major blow as their vice-captain Rahul and Axar Patel have been sidelined from the series. Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Hooda have been added to the side as their replacements. The T20I series will kick off on Wednesday in Kolkata.
Here is India's updated T20I squad
India's updated T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Ishan Kishan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Venkatesh Iyer, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Ravi Bishnoi, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Deepak Hooda
BCCI's statement on Rahul and Axar
"Rahul sustained an upper left hamstring strain during fielding in the second ODI on 9th February 2022 while Axar has resumed the final stage of his rehabilitation after recently recovering from COVID-19," BCCI said in a statement on Friday. "They will now head to the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru for further management of their injury," the statement further read.
Gaikwad and Hooda added to the T20I squad
"The All-India Senior Selection Committee has named Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Hooda as replacements," BCCI said. Gaikwad and Hooda were part of India's original squad for the just-concluded ODI series against WI. Meanwhile, Rahul and Axar's exclusion from the T20Is has also put a question mark over their availability for the Test series against Sri Lanka, which is slated to begin from February 25.
A look at Rahul and Hooda's performances in WI ODIs
Axar was not a part of the ODI squad while Gaikwad was ruled out from ODIs after contracting COVID-19. Rahul missed the first ODI due to personal commitments and was benched from the last game. He played just the second game and scored 49 runs, which India won by 44 runs. Hooda featured in two games and scored 55 runs, besides taking one wicket.
Schedule of the T20I series
The opening T20I match will be held at the Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday, February 16. The next two T20Is will be played on February 18 and 20 at the same venue. The Star Sports Network has the broadcasting rights of the series. Live streaming will be available on Disney+Hotstar (paid subscription).