He is unsure of getting a chance to play in the upcoming third Test between India and Sri Lanka at Kandy, but nevertheless, left-arm spinner Axar Patel is delighted and thrilled after receiving his maiden call-up to the Test side. Patel has been named as a replacement for suspended Ravindra Jadeja in the 15-member Indian team for the third Test against Sri Lanka, starting on August 12.
Axar, who was part of the India A team that outplayed South Africa A on Tuesday by seven wickets to retain the Tri-series trophy they won four years ago, revealed that it was coach Rahul Dravid who broke the news to him.
"Rahul (Dravid) sir told me first after we won the Tri-series and I was blank because we won and on team meeting they broke this news. Later on, all the players and coaches came to me and shook hands. I was too much happy," Axar told indiatvnews.com in an exclusive chat.
The lanky Gujarat bowler had an impressive outing in South Africa. He took seven wickets in four matches at an average of 20.00 and had a good economy rate of 4.11. His best figures of 3/33 came against Afghanistan A.
Axar, who is a handy lower-order batsman, has played 30 ODIs and seven T20Is for India. He last played for the national team in an ODI against New Zealand in October last year at Visakhapatnam.
Jadeja, the world number one Test bowler and all-rounder, was on Sunday suspended for the third Test as his accumulated demerit points reached six within a 24-month period following his latest breach of the ICC Code of Conduct during the second Test in Colombo.
While chinaman Kuldeep Yadav in all likelihood will get a nod for the playing XI, the team management wanted to keep a cover for the young bowler.
Axar said he was not thinking too far ahead at the moment and was excited to be back in the national fold.
"I'm not thinking too much. If I get a chance, I will play my natural game and prove myself in Test. It feels nervous to be back into the national side after a long time but yes, I am ready to play in whites," he said.
India sealed the three-Test series against Sri Lanka after winning the first two matches by a handsome margin and are now eyeing a historic whitewash.
(With inputs from India TV Sports Correspondent Vaibhav Bhola)