Ahead of the second and final Test against Sri Lanka, the Indian team management has released Kuldeep Yadav from the red-ball squad. Kuldeep has been released to make way for left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who is expected to return to the playing XI after fully recovering from his injury.

Notably, Axar has already joined the Indian squad in Mohali, where the two-match series opener against Sri Lanka finished on Sunday (March 6). When the Chetan Sharma-led selection committee had announced the squad for the Sri Lanka Tests, it was mentioned that Axar would only be fit for the second game.

“Axar was the first choice but had to undergo recovery, and hence Kuldeep was a backup. Now Axar is fit and back, so Kuldeep has been released,” a BCCI source told PTI.

Axar has been out of action for the past three months and last featured for Team India in the two-match Test battle against New Zealand. The Ahmedabad-based spinner missed the South Africa tour and the home series against West Indies due to a shin injury. Later, Axar tested positive for COVID-19, which further delayed his return.

The hosts had won the first Test against Sri Lanka in Mohali within three days by an innings and 222 runs. The likes of Ravindra Jadeja, Rishabh Pant, Hanuma VIhari, and Ravichandran Ashwin were the main performers in the game. The second and final Test will start on March 13 in Bengaluru.

Team India’s updated Test squad:

Rohit Sharma (captain), Priyank Panchal, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Shubhman Gill, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), KS Bharat, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Saurabh Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah (vice-captain).

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