After proving his worth with the bat in the shorter formats, Axar Patel has transcended the boundaries with a stellar series against Australia. While his bowling impetus hasn’t been that important, his display with the bat has surely made him an interesting prospect for the national team.
In the five innings that he has batted, Axar has scored 264 runs, at an average of 88, the highest for any batter to have batted in this series. In fact, the left-hander has only been dismissed three times, and continued his batting dominance on the fourth day of the fourth Test here in Ahmedabad.
"I am feeling good to have contributed with the bat. I have had the confidence to go after ones that I can hit, the talk in the 1st Test is what I am following and I am gaining a bit of information about my ability with the bat,” Axar said at the post-match presentation.
The all-rounder played a perfect foil to Virat Kohli, who broke his Test century drought with a 186. During that knock, Axar also smacked the Australian bowling around, with four sixes in the innings taking his tally to nine sixes in the series. In the post-match presentation, the all-rounder also revealed that he did not have a set role with the bat.
“I had no set role (when asked if he was told to score quickly), just wanted to make as many runs as possible, bat along with the ball not doing a lot. Once you are set, it is easier to bat, the odd ball is turning and staying low, it is slightly difficult when you're new to the crease, but once you adjust, it's still easy to bat on this wicket."
In an Instagram post, Anushka Sharma revealed how the former Indian skipper batted through an illness, and when asked about that, Axar said it didn’t seem like he was sick considering his constant running between the wickets.
“I don't know. The way he was running between the wickets, it didn't look like he was sick!” Axar said with a chuckle.
“In such hot weather, he forged a such a great partnership and ran so well. It was fun batting with him,” Axar further said.
Axar's missed opportunity with the bat
Was Axar unhappy missing out on a three-figure score?
“The way I was batting, I missed the opportunity (to score a hundred), chances like this don’t come so often. On a positive note, I batted the way I wanted, and the partnership was at the right time for the team. I’m thinking about it positively, I will regret missing the hundred only when I go back to the room," said the all-rounder.
The all-rounder also opened up that the team was expecting the ball to do something after three grueling days of cricket but nothing transpired, on day four of the fourth Test here in Ahmedabad.
“If Australia lose two wickets quickly, we can put pressure but we will need more patience on this surface. Everyone were criticising the wickets after three games, with all the Tests ending in three days. Now it has gone to day five and you are still asking questions on the pitch. But yes, we thought there will be some turn but there wasn’t a lot. We can’t do a lot about that.”
Despite his performance, there is a strong possibility that the left-hander could be left out of the playing XI if India are playing away from home. And Axar insisted that it is part and parcel of the game.
“We knew that we were going to play on a lot of spinning tracks, when we set camp in Nagpur. So, we discussed our options and also the line and length that were required as a bowler to bowl in these conditions. Also, I learnt a lot about my batting options, and I set myself and my guard on the basis of that. It were small points that I was learning mentally.”
“I can’t control my selection, and I can’t do anything about that. I just want to put out performance, and not think too much about it. Selection or not, that’s the coach and captain’s task, I don’t have anything to do with that. I just want to perform and keep going at it with consistency.”