India’s left-arm spinner Axar Patel said that he learned the art of bowling arm balls all by himself and being a fast bowler in the early phase of his career helped him to achieve the art.
Axar Patel playing at his hometown in Gujarat starred with the ball on the very 1st day of the pink-ball Test between India and England at the newly built Narendra Modi Stadium and scalped 6 wickets conceding only 38 runs. The magic of the left-arm spinner saw the visitors getting bowled out for a paltry 112-run total in just 2 seasons.
Axar Patel Learnt The Arm Ball Himself And He Was A Pacer In Early Days Of Career
Axar Patel started to bowl as early as the 7th over and struck on his very first delivery. England’s comeback man Jonny Bairstow went to play for the turn but the ball went straight to hit his pad. The 27-year-old spinner executed his arm balls to perfection to trap two more English batsmen namely Ben Stokes and Zak Crawley in front of the stumps before hitting out the stumps of Ben Foakes and Jofra Archer.
Axar Patel, who is playing only in his 2nd Test match, has taken a five-wicket haul in consecutive 2 innings. When asked about his arm ball, Axar Patel revealed that he has mastered the art on his own. He went on to add that he was a fast bowler when he started playing cricket but started bowling spin because of knee problems.
“I have learnt the arm ball myself. I worked with Venkat Sir (Venkatapathy Raju) at the NCA to master this delivery. I was a fast bowler in the early days of my career, which is why my bowling style is a bit quicker.
“So, I think my experience of being a fast-bowler also helps me bowl arm balls. I converted myself into a spinner only because of knee problems, but what I used to do in my early days helps me bowl those arm balls quicker,” said Axar Patel.
Venkatapathy Raju came into the Indian side in 1989–90 after capturing 32 wickets in the domestic season. He made his Test and ODI début in the tour of New Zealand in 1990 and his last Test was in 2001 and his last ODI was in 1996. He represented India in 28 Tests and 53 ODIs where he claimed 93 and 63 scalps respectively.
His last Test was the famous Kolkata Test of 2001, where he bowled Mark Waugh with an arm-ball in the second innings. India won that Test despite following on. But that was his only wicket in the Test and soon he made way for other tweakers.
Axar Patel: Pink Ball Skids More Off The Pitch But Didn’t Expect To Get 6 Scalps Although Was Confident Enough
Further, Axar Patel reckoned that the extra lacquer of the pink-ball did help him throughout his bowling spell. He said that the ball skidded more because the extra lacquer made the lives of Joe Root’s men even more difficult in the middle. Explaining the idea behind him bowling the 7th over of the match, Axar Patel admitted that even India bowlers were having a problem will landing their foot while bowling.
“But when I came in, I felt that the extra lacquer could help the ball skid further and that’s exactly what happened. That was the difference between the red ball and the pink ball as the latter skid more off the pitch,” he said.
“But to be honest, I didn’t expect getting a six-for on the first day itself as there was no guarantee that we would be bowling first. However, the confidence was always thereafter I took five wickets in the previous Test and was bowling well too. I knew I had the variations to pose problems for batsmen with the pink ball as well,” Axar Patel added.
Playing in front of his home crowd, the left-arm off-spinner who picked successive five-wicket hauls, returned with the figures of 6 for 38 to help India bowl out Joe Root’s England for a paltry 112. Earlier, making his Test debut at Chennai in the 2nd Test, Axar Patel rocked England’s second innings, picking up 5/60 to bundle them out for 164, chasing 482 to win. At stumps after 1st day’s play, India was 99 for 3 from 33 overs after England managed only 112.