Axar Patel Didn't Know Whether The Ball Will Spin Or Not: Harbhajan Singh
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Axar Patel Didn’t Know Whether The Ball Will Spin Or Not: Harbhajan Singh

Axar Patel
Axar Patel

Harbhajan Singh, former Indian spinner heaped praise on spinner Axar Patel for the way he bowled in the 3rd pink-ball Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium, last week.

Ahead of the fourth and final Test of the series against England at the same venue, former India spinner Harbhajan Singh hailed Axar Patel for bowling exceptionally well.

Harbhajan Singh (© IANS)
Harbhajan Singh (© IANS)

Harbhajan Singh: There Is Always A Challenge To Bowl On Spinning Track As Bowler Needs To Judge How Much Spin Required

The hosts registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over visitors England in the third Test and took an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series. India is now eyeing the World Test Championship final spot by winning or drawing the last game of the 4 match Test series. India only needs to draw the final Test against Joe Root’s men in order to seal a spot in the WTC final.

Axar Patel, playing in just his second Test, scalped 11 wickets in the day-night Test to spin a web over the Englishmen. According to Harbhajan Singh, the bowler should be credited for turning the ball even if the pitch had something for the spinner.

Speaking exclusively on Star Sports’ show Cricket Connected, Harbhajan Singh said, “At the beginning of our journey, the spinners are taught to hit the stump — the ball should hit the stump after the spin.

“If the wicket has spin then the bowler needs to judge how much spin is required, and if you’re missing the stumps constantly then it’s the bowler’s fault. If there is a spinning track or any other track, there is always a challenge to bowl.”

Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI
Axar Patel | Pankaj Nangia/ Sportzpics for BCCI

“The most difficult balls were the ones where the batsman had to face with the bat and I believe Axar Patel was the best bowler in this game because the batsman had to play every ball and Axar himself didn’t know whether the ball will spin or not,” Harbhajan Singh added.

In the ongoing series, batsman Rohit Sharma and spin all-rounders Axar Patel, and Ravichandran Ashwin have been standout performers. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel was the Man of the Match after producing a match-haul of 11 for 70. He is on a dream run taking 18 wickets in his first two Tests averaging 9.44. Ravichandran Ashwin, though, is the leading wicket-taker with 24 wickets in 3 Tests.

Virat Kohli Last Scored A Century In 2019 And Hope To End Century Drought In The 4th Test

In the fourth Test, skipper Virat Kohli would look to come to the party and end his century-drought. Virat Kohli had last scored a century way back in 2019 in a day-night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens. The fourth Test of the series will be played at the Narendra Modi Stadium from Thursday.

England captain Joe Root and India captain Virat Kohli
England captain Joe Root and India captain Virat Kohli (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Joe Root has 338 runs from 7 innings averaging 48.29 and is leading the batting charts. He got out cheaply in the 4th Test after scoring only 5 runs. England is placed at 74/3 before lunch in the 4th Test with Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes at the crease.

Axar Patel picked the scalps of both openers while Mohammed Siraj accounted for Joe Root’s scalp. England has included Daniel Lawrence and Dominic Bess in starting XI. For India, pacer Mohammed Siraj replaced pacer Jasprit Bumrah who opted out from playing the 4th Test for personal reasons(marriage purposes).

Fit-again pacer Umesh Yadav and spinner Kuldeep Yadav are warming the bench alongside Mayank Agarwal, Wriddhiman Saha, KL Rahul, and Hardik Pandya. Kuldeep Yadav has played only one Test for India in the last two years. The second Test between India and England in Chennai was his first in the last two years.

The chinaman spinner bagged two wickets on his return but found himself out of the team in the third Test as India looked opted for a deeper batting unit by including Washington Sundar instead.