With left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja out of India's Test squad due to broken thumb, India could field another left-arm spinner Axar Patel for the first Test against England beginning February 5. The challenge for Patel will be matching his senior's all-round ability and penchant for taking wickets on Indian pitches, something that he does with variations in pace. Patel, who has represented India in 38 ODIs and 11 T20Is, is yet to play a Test, though he has 134 wickets and has scored 1,665 runs at 35.42 in 39 first-class matches.
Gujarat's Patel qualifies as all-rounder and his ability to turn the ball away from right-handed batsmen may prompt the team management to pick him in the XI along with R Ashwin, the off-spinner, who will most likely play the first Test at his home ground, M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.
Off-spinner Washington Sundar and Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, both of whom bring the ball into the right-hander batsman, are the other spinners in the Indian squad for the first two Tests.