Axar Patel, who made his debut in the longest format during the England tour this year, has said that breaking into the Test squad was not easy as Ravindra Jadeja was giving top performances for the team.
Axar Patel made his Test debut in February 2021, six years after playing his maiden limited-overs match for India, and starred so much so with the ball that he ended up picking 27 wickets from the 3 matches in the series. He took 4 five-wicket hauls as England lost the series 3-1. England managed to win only the first Test match which Axar Patel missed due to a knee injury.
Axar Patel: It Was Very Hard For Any Other Left Arm Spin All-rounder To Find A Place In Test For Ravindra Jadeja’s Performance
Ravindra Jadeja, India’s first-choice all-rounder in red-ball cricket, was out of the home series due to a thumb injury which he incurred during the Australia tour and his absence became a blessing in disguise for Axar Patel, the second most famous left-arm spin bowling all-rounder from the state of Gujarat.
Axar Patel has now admitted that the problem was not with his skill sets but Ravindra Jadeja’s on-field brilliance had made an entry of any left-arm spinner in the squad “very difficult”. The presence of an equally brilliant Ravichandran Ashwin made the path difficult for him further.
“I don’t feel I was lacking anything. Unfortunately, I was injured and lost my place in the ODIs. In Tests, [Ravindra] Jadeja and [Ravichandran] Ashwin were doing well. The way Jadeja was performing, it was very hard for any other left-arm spin all-rounder to find a place. The wrist spinners Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal were doing well. It was due to the team combination that I was out. When I got a chance, I just tried to prove myself,” Axar told The Indian Express.
The 27-year-old spinner, making his debut in the 2nd Test in Chennai, became the 9th Indian player to take a five-wicket haul on Test debut and only the second left-arm spinner after Dilip Doshi to take a fiver in his debut Test.
The left-arm spinner joined Dilip Doshi’s company once again with his fourth five-wicket haul that completed 27 wickets since his debut. With the wicket of Dom Bess, on the third day of the fourth Test, Axar Patel bagged his 27th Test dismissal hence equalling the record of most Test wickets on debut for India.
With his fourth five-wicket haul, in only three Test matches in his careers far, Axar Patel became the Indian with the most number of five-fors in their debut Test series. Axar Patel has as many five-wicket hauls as Australia’s Terry Alderman (1981) and Arthur Mailey (1920/21) and one less than Australia’s Rodney Hogg (1978/79).
Axar Patel: Rishabh Pant Is Closest Friend For Cracking Jokes In Dull Atmosphere
Further, on being asked about the wicketkeeping skills of his Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel said that his tuning with the 23-year-old is “great”. Calling Rishabh Pant one of his “closest friends”, Axar Patel added that the upbeat youngster also takes up the additional responsibility of cracking jokes to help his teammates go through the dull phase of a Test match.
“I have a great tuning with him, we are part of the same team in the IPL. He is one of my closest friends. He maintains that lively atmosphere in the team. He will crack jokes, even from behind the wicket. Sometimes in a five-day game, if there is a partnership, it’s very tough to kill that time. It’s his role that if he feels that the atmosphere is getting dull, he will crack some jokes, he will pass on comments. It suits him,” Axar said during the same interview.
Axar Patel has been selected in Team India’s squad for the World Test Championship final and the five-match series against England. Axar Patel picked 6 scalps in 4 games in IPL 2021 before the league was postponed indefinitely. He had 86 scalps in 101 IPL games averaging 29.86 besides scoring 913 runs.
Under Rishabh Pant’s captaincy, Delhi Capitals has won 6 out of their first 8 matches and was table toppers with 12 points before the postponement of IPL 2021. Notably, Rishabh Pant is leading an IPL franchise for the first time in his career. He was appointed as the skipper of Delhi Capitals after Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of IPL 2021 with a shoulder injury.