David Warner has been one of the finest batters in the history of the Indian Premier League, but his numbers have taken a nosedive in the last couple of seasons. The Delhi Capitals skipper is one of the just five batters to have an SR in the north of 140 against both pace and spin in the IPL, but this season, he has scored at a lesser strike rate than usual.
Even though he has three half-centuries in four matches, his tentativeness has cost them a lot more. On Tuesday, Warner took 43 balls to score his half-century and then could add only five runs in the last 10 balls he faced, majorly during the death overs.
When vice-captain Axar Patel was quizzed about the same, he was incredibly honest by stating that the team management have spoken to the Aussie opener about his drop in strike rate, and Warner is working on that aspect currently.
"No one has asked him to anchor the innings," Axar said in the post-match press conference. "Even in the last couple of games, when he has been trying to hit, it's not been coming off. As a batsman, I don't know what he is thinking at that moment.
“When Prithvi is batting, he has to anchor, but after that, when wickets keep falling in front of him, it's not good to keep attacking. Even when he is trying, it's not coming off. Everyone spoke to him - Ricky, Watson, Dada. The conversation about his strike rate also came up. They looked at his videos, and he's working on it."
Despite primarily being a bowling all-rounder, Axar has now showcased his wide range of batting skills. After being the leading run-scorer for India in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the Gujarat all-rounder has shown incredible panache for Delhi Capitals, even on surfaces where batting was seemingly challenging.
"When you're playing all three formats for India, it boosts your confidence. Senior players like Virat bhai and Rohit bhai. Hardik told me a few things about getting the mindset right.
“As an all-rounder, when you score 20-30 runs, you think you can go for the big shots. I changed that thinking to control the game and finish it. These were the mindset changes I worked on. From the Sri Lanka series, when I scored runs, I got the confidence, and it is that confidence that got carried forward."
Axar came out to bat at No.7 last night, but logic would dictate that he should be sent up the order to maximize his form. However, the all-rounder is not too concerned about the same.
"We were thinking about that (promoting me in the batting order), but invariably I'm still getting to bat 10-12 overs," he joked. "So it doesn't make a difference, and I'm not complaining. Even if I come up to bat at No 4, 10-12 overs are enough for me. On a serious note, we've had that chat. The domestic players are also good players of spin. If I come up too high in the order, the question is who will finish well?"