Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli. Image-ICC

India captain Virat Kohli was effusive in praise for Axar Patel following the conclusion of the Test series against New Zealand, which India by a margin of 1-0 with a thumping win in Mumbai.

Patel has had a dream year: he bagged 27 wickets in 3 Tests versus England, he took a five-fer in Kanpur against New Zealand; in between, he had a fantastic IPL season as well, which saw him getting picked as one of the reserves in India’s T20 World Cup squad. He also was among runs in the Mumbai Test.

Virat Kohli lauded Patel’s all-round skills, and asserted that should the all-rounder keep up with his fitness levels, he would play international cricket for a long time.

Axar Patel, India, Day/Night Test
Axar Patel (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Axar is an all-round cricketer. His skillsets provide good balance to any team he plays for. Precisely why he has been performing so well in T20 format for so long and in Test cricket as well whenever he is given an opportunity.

“The good thing to see is he is adapting his game according to the needs of the format, which is a great sign,” Virat Kohli said at the post-match press conference. 

“If he can keep his fitness levels up and if he can keep working on his game, he has potential to play for a long time. That’s basically the need of the hour in today’s cricket when we play so much cricket. If you can’t keep your fitness levels up, it gets more and more difficult.”

I can’t judge Ajnkya Rahane’s form: Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli also backed the struggling duo of Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, the former in particular as Rahane’s average has now dipped below 40.

Rahane now averages 24.39 over his last 16 Tests, and Pujara hasn’t scored a century since January 2019. The Indian skipper, though, threw his weight behind the duo.

Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara
Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I can’t judge Ajnkya’s form. Nobody can judge anybody’s form, for that matter. Because only an individual knows what part of his game he has to work on. But, as I have said in the past, it is important to back those players who have made impact performances in difficult situations and important Test matches in the past.

“We don’t entertain this kind of atmosphere in the team that a player starts worrying about ‘what next’ the moment he is under a little bit of pressure,” he added.

Virat Kohli’s next challenge is in South Africa. The 3-Test series starts on December 26 in Centurion.

Also Read: IND vs NZ 2021: Team India Donates Rs 35,000 To Wankhede Stadium Groundstaff