While analysing the 15 member Indian Test team to tour Sri Lanka next month, former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has openly criticized India’s slow-left arm spinner Axar Patel and claimed that Axar is not the next big thing in Indian cricket. He also went on to say that Axar can’t be considered as specialist spinner in Tests as he does not have the ability to turn the ball and referred him as a roller of the ball.
When asked about Axar’s chances as a Test spinner, Gavaskar said No, Axar Patel is not an alternative spinner India should be looking for. He just rolls the ball, he does not have the flight and his deliveries are very much predictable. He does not turn the ball unless the pitch is favourable. He is slightly slower than medium pace.
Gavaskar also added that Yes, Ashwin, Harbhajan, Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma are the spinners India can look for but certainly not Axar Patel. He also blamed the pitches offered during the Ranji Trophy matches for India’s lack of talent in bowling in the last few years.
He said for the past few years, we have struggled to find quality spinners. One reason could be the kind of pitches we are offering for Ranji Trophy matches. We leave a lot of grass on these Ranji pitches and that does not help quality spinners come through. We need to make these pitches level playing for both bat and ball. There may be grass but not a lot of grass. Early in the game, the spinners should be able to use their flight and drop the flight on the second and third days. We should prepare pitches like this.
Gavaskar also hailed Test captain Virat Kohli’s decision to play a India ‘A’ match in Chennai to get some match practice ahead of the tests against Sri Lanka.
It’s a very good call on the part of Virat. He has not played much cricket in the last 2-3 weeks. His form was also not that good in Bangladesh for his standard. If he scores big in India A match, he can go with confidence in Sri Lanka, said Gavaskar.