Former India batsman, Sanjay Manjrekar admits he was a bit surprised by the fact that Axar Patel looked at home in his debut Test match against England in Chennai. Patel became the 9th Indian bowlers – and only second left-arm off-spinner – to bag a five-wicket haul on his debut Test as India level the series with a 317-run victory.
Looking at Axar Patel’s performance in Chennai, Sanjay Manjrekar says that the Gujarat-born all-rounder is more than just a white-ball cricketer and can be handy in overseas conditions as well. Patel was supposed to play in the first Test but was ruled out of it due to sustaining an injury before the match.
However, he made a brilliant debut and has proved himself to be an apt replacement for Ravindra Jadeja. He even got Joe Root as his maiden Test scalp; dismissed the England skipper once again in the second innings.
“I must confess – I was surprised by how good he (Axar Patel) looked in this Test match. It goes to show that he is not just a white-ball wonder, great to see and this is great for India that in overseas conditions he can you defensive bowler,” Sanjay Manjrekar told ESPNcricinfo.
Sanjay Manjrekar mentions three factors that helped Axar Patel
The 55-year-old cricketer-turned-commentator points out three factors that are key to Axar Patel’s bowling and success in Chennai. Manjrekar reckons Axar’s speed and accuracy blended with his height make a terrific combination on Indian pitched which offers even little assistance to the spinners.
The former India batsman also feels that much like Jadeja, it is challenging for a batsman to pick the deliveries from Patel which will turn and which ones will not turn, instead continue to go with the angle after pitching.
“Three things that worked for him: he is very accurate, which always helps on rank turners in India; the other thing is his speed, he is comfortably able to be accurate at the speed of 90 to 100 kph which is perfect on pitched we have here; the third things, which is a real bonus, is the height at which he releases the ball.
“Also, I am not sure whether – like Jadeja – in his bowling which ball is going to turn against the angle and which one will go with the angle. His three or four dismissals in the second innings were to straight balls. So, that is another plus that Axar Patel has – the ability to ball quick straight balls on a rank turner,” Manjrekar further added.
The third Test match, which is a day-night contest, will commence after a break of one week – on 24th February in Ahmedabad.