Left arm spinner Axar Patel panned eyes when he bamboozled the England batters in the four-match Test series against the Three Lions. Axar had replaced first choice tweaker Ravindra Jadeja, who had to sit out due to a thumb injury during the Border Gavaskar Series 2020/21.
Axar played three Test matches and scalped 27 wickets but considering Jadeja’s comeback, critics opine that the former would have to once again warm the benches in the World Test Championship (WTC) final. When quizzed about not having enough chances, Axar remarked that Jadeja’s impeccable performances as an all-rounder coupled with off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s consistency had made it difficult for aspiring spinners to get a breakthrough in the side.
“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 on Thursday.
Talking about the new Test discovery Rishabh Pant, the 27-year-old revealed that the wicket-keeper batsman tries to maintain a positive environment in red ball matches by cracking jokes and cheering his teammates during strenuous sessions.
“I have a great tuning with him (Rishabh Pant), 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 divulged.
Axar has been named in the 20-man squad for the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final followed by the five-match Test series against the hosts England.