Sunday, June 16, 2024

Apart from varying line and length, trying to see how I can play with speed: Axar Patel

After picking match-winning figures of 3-16 in India’s 20-win over Australia in fourth T20I, left-arm spin all-rounder Axar Patel said apart from varying his line and length, he is now trying to play with speeds at which he bowls in the format.

At Raipur on Friday night, Axar came in to bowl in power-play and found success when Travis Head slog-swept to short third man. He then had Aaron Hardie castled by a slower delivery and then uprooted Ben McDermott’s off-stump with a quicker delivery to break the back of Australia’s chase, ensuring a series win for India.

“There was grass on the pitch, so some balls were skidding and a few stopped, so they were facing difficulties. I have been doing this since the last three games – one-odd ball in an over I am bowling slower, varying my speed, and then a bowl a quicker one. Line and length you obviously have to vary in T20 cricket but now I am also trying how I can play with the speed.”

“I didn’t change my bowling much. There was dew in the last three matches, so we were bowling back of length. But there was no dew here, so we could flight the ball as the seam was not too wet, which was a plus point,” he said after the game ended.

Asked about his plan to dismiss Head, Axar explained, “You cannot think that since you are a left-arm spinner, a left-hand batter will simply take you down. If you bowl in their slot, yes, they are going to punish you. If you execute your plan, and then go for runs, you cannot do anything about that.”

“But if you think beforehand that this batter will hit me… that’s the mental switch you need. You have to be on the attack and think you have to get him out. People watch your videos, study you, so I also have to do something. It’s not like I will just bowl fast and get wickets, get dot balls.”

Axar comes back into the T20I fold after missing ODI World Cup on home soil and said his time in recovering from quadriceps injury helped him to enhance his bowling game. “When I was injured, I was thinking what more I could include in my bowling. I cannot make any drastic changes but these little things I can add. You get to know only when you try it in the match because in nets when you do that, batsmen are not always looking to attack you.”

Though Axar is not included in India’s T20I squad for tour of South Africa, with Ravindra Jadeja included in his place the all-rounder expressed no sadness over the move. “It is not like that, if I would have gone for runs then you would have said that I was upset. I was normal.”

“There was nothing as such in my mind that I have to prove myself for that (selection). I have been doing well and this is not my decision (non-selection) and I didn’t think much about that. I am just happy that I got wickets.”

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