India’s Ravichandran Ashwin withdraws from third Test due to family emergency

India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has withdrawn from the third Test against England in Rajkot because of a family medical emergency.

Ashwin became just the ninth bowler in history and second Indian after Anil Kumble to reach 500 Test wickets on Friday when he dismissed Zak Crawley in the final session of the second day.

However, just a few hours after the close of play, the Board of Cricket for Control in India announced Ashwin had immediately pulled out of the squad and his availability for the last three days is unknown.

“In these challenging times, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the team fully supports Ashwin,” read a statement from the BCCI secretary Jay Shah.

“The BCCI extends its heartfelt support to the champion cricketer and his family. The health and well-being of the players and their loved ones are of utmost importance.

“The board requests respect for the privacy of Ashwin and his family as they navigate through this challenging time.”

A tweet from BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla added: “Wishing speedy recovery of mother of @ashwinravi99. He has to rush and leave Rajkot test to Chennai to be with his mother.”

It seems unlikely India, who have been unable to call upon star batter Virat Kohli for this five-match series because of personal reasons, will be able to replace Ashwin if he does not return in the Test.

While the MCC, the game’s lawmakers, states a player can be replaced at any point with “the consent of the opposing captain”, the World Test Championship’s regulations are more ambiguous.

India's Virat Kohli prepares to head out to bat
India have been unable to call upon star batter Virat Kohli for this five-match series because of personal reasons (Adam Davy/PA)

It was an eventful day for Ashwin, whose 37 in India’s 445 all out was overshadowed by him conceding five penalty runs after being found to have encroached on to the protected area of the playing surface.

Speaking after England had closed on 207 for two to trail by 238 runs, Ashwin spoke of his “long journey” and pride at joining Test cricket’s prestigious 500 club.

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