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Shams Mulani

Delhi Capitals all-rounder Axar Patel has tested positive for coronavirus.© Instagram
Delhi Capitals all-rounder Axar Patel has tested positive for coronavirus.© Instagram

IPL 2021: Axar Patel Rejoins Delhi Capitals After Being Back To Full Fitness

Axar Patel, who tested positive in early April, rejoined the Delhi Capitals on Thursday in Chennai. He is back to full fitness and participated in his first-team training session on Friday.

After spending nearly three weeks in a medical care facility in Mumbai, Delhi Capitals allrounder Axar Patel has bounced back from Covid-19.

Axar Patel, Delhi Capitals'
Axar Patel in action for Delhi Capitals during IPL 2019©BCCI-IPL

Axar Patel Terms Getting Back In Delhi Capitals Camp Is The Best Moment In His Life After A Successful Test Debut

“I’m getting sheer joy just by seeing people,” said Axar Patel said in a video posted by his franchise Delhi Capitals on Friday, expressing his joy and relief at recovering from dreaded Covid-19 which has enveloped India with a vicious second wave.

“This is the best moment in my life after my Test debut,” Patel said. “I was alone in my room for 20 days and I didn’t have anything to do. I was watching the matches and one good thing was that our team won most of the matches, so I got even more motivated to re-join the side. We are just focusing on how my body is reacting to training sessions.”

Delhi Capitals
Delhi Capitals. Image Credits: Twitter

Axar Patel had originally checked into the Delhi Capitals’ team hotel on March 28 in Mumbai, where the previous season IPL 2020’s runners-up played their first three matches this season.

While he had entered the bubble with a negative test report, on April 3 the Delhi Capitals issued a media statement, saying Axar Patel’s second test at the team hotel had come out positive. He was immediately moved to a medical facility where he was isolated in his own room.

Delhi Capitals Had Roped In Shams Mulani For Short Time Covid-19 Replacement For Axar Patel

In his absence, the Delhi Capitals had roped in Shams Mulani, a left-arm-finger spin-bowling allrounder from Mumbai, as a temporary like-for-like replacement for Axar Patel.

Axar Patel’s all-around skills offer the Capitals a good balance as he can provide depth in the batting, too. Along with Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra, the Capitals, who are currently third on the points table, fielded uncapped Indian allrounder Lalit Yadav in their last two matches.

Amit Mishra is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL. (Source: File)
Amit Mishra is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL. (Source: File)

However, it is likely the franchise will allow Axar Patel a bit more time to recover and train considering he has not played since March 12, in the first T20I against England. The Delhi Capitals play their next game on April 25 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai.

Axar Patel, who had missed the first Test against England which India lost by 227 runs due to an injury, took a five-wicket haul in the second innings of the second Test. The left-arm spinner Axar Patel spun a web and bagged two five-wicket hauls in the third Test, thus helping India register a 10-wicket win inside two days.

And with a five-for in the second innings of the fourth Test, the left-arm spinner took his series tally to 27 wickets. In his Test series against England, he picked 27 scalps to finish behind Ravichandran Ashwin (32) in the leading wicket-takers list.

Axar Patel was the 2nd player after Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Nitish Rana to test positive for the virus. RCB’s Devdutt Padikkal had also missed the team’s first match against MI but returned to play the next matches. He struck his first ton against Rajasthan Royals the other night.

He picked 9 scalps in 15 games in IPL 2020 at UAE but the fact that the IPL series is in India this time, he may bag more wickets for Indian subcontinent pitches offer more turn and aid spinners.

File photo of Anrich Nortje. | BCCI / Sportzpics
File photo of Anrich Nortje. | BCCI / Sportzpics

None Can Underestimate Any Franchise In IPL 2021: Anrich Nortje

Anrich Nortje, Delhi Capitals pacer believes one cannot underestimate any of the franchises in the IPL. The South African added that every team is capable of producing a match-winning performance ahead of his side’s upcoming encounter against the Punjab Kings.

Anrich Nortje missed his side’s first two games of the season, but he should be available for tonight’s encounter against the Punjab outfit.

Anrich Nortje
Anrich Nortje © Instagram

Anrich Nortje: None Has Got A Bad Team And Every Side Is Competitive

Speaking about his next opponents, the 27-year-old said the Delhi Capitals could not afford to take any team lightly in the competition.

“There’s no team that’s got a bad team, so every side is really competitive, and it can come off for anyone on any day. We are definitely not going to underestimate anyone, and hopefully, we can bring our A-game (against Punjab Kings).” the South African bowler said in a chat with DC’s social media team.

Delhi Capitals
Delhi Capitals. Image Credits: Twitter

Speaking about his quarantine experience, Anrich Nortje was relieved that it finally came to an end. The fast bowler could have been available for DC’s second game of IPL season.

However, Anrich Nortje had initially tested positive for COVID-19. Later, it was discovered that the test gave a false positive report, and the bowler was finally allowed to join DC’s training camp.

“Ten days in the room was quite a lot for me. It was nice to get out, run around and bowl a bit. I really enjoyed it, and hopefully, I can build it up from here on,” said Nortje.

Anrich Nortje, the bowler of the fastest ball in IPL history, is back in the Capitals’ team bubble after a Covid-19 scare. Anrich Nortje had landed in Mumbai on April 6, and had to spend extended time in quarantine after a positive test, but has subsequently tested negative thrice.

Anrich Nortje: Delhi Have A Great Combination Of Players Besides Lot Of Options In Bowling Lineup

Anrich Nortje was asked about the makeup of DC’s squad for this IPL season and the South African suggested that the bowling line-up was one of DC’s key strengths.

“We are unfortunately missing Shreyas (Iyer), but we definitely have a great combination of players. We have got a great bowling line-up as well. It’s just about picking the right team on the right wicket and conditions.

“We definitely have a lot of options in our bowling line-up, which is really nice to have and hopefully, we can make the best of the conditions and the different players that we have got.” Nortje said.

Sam and Tom Curran
Sam and Tom Curran during the first innings of CSK vs DC clash | Photo: BCCI / IPL

DC has used Chris Woakes and Tom Curran as their two overseas bowling options in their first two games. While Chris Woakes has done well with the new ball, getting early breakthroughs, Tom Curran has been expensive, conceding runs at an economy of 9.55 and 10 in the opening two games. Hence, Anrich Nortje could replace Tom Curran for DC’s next match against the Punjab Kings today.

The South African duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje is key pacers of Delhi Capitals and were mighty impressive as they picked up 52 wickets between them in the UAE in 2020. Kagiso Rabada picked most scalps as he was a purple cap holder with 30 scalps.

The Capitals have also roped in Shams Mulani as a temporary replacement for Axar Patel, a like-for-like left-arm-spinning allrounder, and brought in Aniruddha Joshi for the injured Shreyas Iyer. It remains to be seen whether either of them can be fitted into the XIs.

Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 Rishabh Pant (capt, wk), 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Shimron Hetmyer, 7 Lalit Yadav, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Avesh Khan, 11 Anrich Nortje

Punjab Kings: 1 Mayank Agarwal, 2 KL Rahul (capt, wk), 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Deepak Hooda, 5 Nicholas Pooran, 6 Shahrukh Khan, 7 Jhye Richardson, 8 M Ashwin, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Riley Meredith, 11 Arshdeep Singh