Axar Patel was the tormentor-in-chief for England during the recent home series where the Gujarat spinner went on to take as many as 27 wickets in just three Test matches with 4 five-wicket hauls.
Patel reckoned that English batsmen do not aim to read the ball from the bowler’s hand and they only rely on where the ball is pitched and react to it.
And, so if a bowler is bowling between the three stumps, they find it difficult to nail the shot as they become prime candidates for either LBW or bowler.
And, that is exactly why Axar Patel got a majority of wickets on balls that didn’t even turn. The left-arm orthodox kept aiming the stumps and more often than not, it was him who hit their pads or stumps.
“If they are in doubt whether it’s spinning or not, they just play sweeps and reverse-sweeps. If one bowls stump-to-stump, then it gets tough for them but if the ball is pitched outside off-stump or leg-stump they go for the sweep. They don’t read the ball from my hand, instead, they go by where it’s pitched.” said Axar Patel during an interview with the Indian Express.
Axar Patel reveals what Virat Kohli told him on his Test debut
Axar Patel was supposed to make his Test debut during the first Test of the four-match series against England in Chennai.
However, as it turned out, the left-arm spinner was ruled out on the morning of the Test match due to knee injury.
During the interview, Axar Patel recalled the eve of what was going to be his debut Test besides also opening up about his thought process after he got ruled out.
“A day before that first Test, I had pain in my knee. The doctor said it could be because I was bowling after the lockdown and hadn’t bowled too much. They didn’t know for sure. I went for a scan. I was blank, I was about to make my Test debut. I called home and spoke to my mom and dad; I was very nervous. The last time I went to Chennai before this, I was injured. Once I got injured while playing football and now again for the third time. The doctor said, ‘don’t think too much, there is nothing in the scan report.’ And I will be fit for the next game.” he added.
Axar finally earned his maiden Test cap in the second Test in Chennai.
The Gujarat spinner revealed there were many things running through his mind at the time but after captain Virat Kohli told him that he does not have to prove anything to anyone, he felt massively relieved and immediately he mind shifted to focusing on just playing his natural game.
“There were many things running through my mind then. When I got my Test cap, Ravibhai [head coach Ravi Shastri] was there, Virat [Kohli] and Rohit [Sharma] were there. Virat said I don’t need to prove anything. I have proved myself and that is why I’m in the team. I thought, ‘right, I will just play my normal game.’ My mindset was clear.” revealed Axar Patel.
Axar Patel will now travel to England with the 20-men squad for the upcoming WTC final against New Zealand and a five-match Test series against the hosts.