I can land the ball on right spot even if you wake me up at three in the morning: Axar

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10 Oct 2021 | 10:33 AM
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I can land the ball on right spot even if you wake me up at three in the morning: Axar

The left-arm spinner said he is now more confident about his bowling and doesn’t pay too much attention to what others have to say

Axar Patel said he is now more confident about his bowling and doesn’t pay too much attention to what others have to say about his flat-round-arm left-arm spin bowling. The 27-year-old, who is part of India’s T20 World Cup squad, has been a consistent performer for Delhi Capitals and has also done well for India in the limited opportunities he has received. 

"This is a very important issue for me and others to follow. Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) and I didn't flight the ball much and the critics slammed us saying we bowled only one type of delivery. That was the toughest phase for me. Even my friends and people from my academies kept telling me I know nothing other than bowling flat. I was criticized whenever I had an off day. I heard a lot of taunts," Axar told Times of India

"Then I analysed myself and felt that nobody likes the way I bowl and yet I played for India and did well in IPL. That meant there's something special about me. I got selected because I was different from other left-arm spinners. Then I decided to not pay heed to others' opinions and stuck with what I did. Then I brought about variations in pace and I got success. I am skillful enough to land the ball on the right spot even if you wake me up at three in the morning. People fail after making the grade because they stop backing their strengths and try to develop every skill."

In the ongoing Indian Premier League 2021, Axar has scalped 15 wickets in 10 encounters at a stunning economy of 6.43. The spin-bowling all-rounder said the presence of head coach Ricky Ponting, Amit Mishra and R Ashwin in the Capitals set-up has helped him a lot.

"I have become more confident now. I made my Test debut on the basis of my last IPL. I did well in Tests too. And I am carrying that forward. We have Amit Mishra in the Delhi Capitals bench. There's Ashwin. It's competitive. I push myself to ensure I secure my place and that I am not the guy to be dropped if the team is thinking of making changes or getting a legspinner in.

"Ash is a man with a different kind of mindset. He is more academic. If I had half the skills as he does, I would do much better. I try to pick how his mind works in different situations. He has different plans for every batter. Bahut hi deep thinking karta hain. (He thinks really deep). I talk to him about how to deal with a batter who is picking me really well. I don't ask him to teach the variations he has. We talk more about setting the field and mindset.

"Last year, Ricky took me aside and told me I am one of the main players in the Capitals team. Now that I have done well, he keeps reminding me what he said and that I should stick to what I have been doing. And the best thing about Ricky is that it doesn't matter to him if you are an international player. That's why we trust him so much."

Axar has been around the Indian team for quite some time now but only gets a chance if someone is injured or unavailable. "I work very hard on motivating myself. I play every match as if it's my last match. I can't be thinking as a selector. That's not my job. It's difficult when you are sitting out for long periods of time. But travelling with the Indian team keeps you ready. 

"Even in the recent England tour, we were doing well and the matches were close. We were all involved in the series. I don't follow what's happening on social media and those memes. I have warned my family and friends that if they share any negative thoughts with me, I'll block them.

"I haven't changed much. I have improved my skills. I have worked on pace variations and batting has got better. I have become stronger mentally after the injury setbacks. I am more mature than 2015," said Axar, who was also part of the 2015 World Cup squad in Australia and New Zealand.

Both Rishabh Pant and Axar, who play for Delhi Capitals, are going to feature in the forthcoming T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman but the two are not thinking too much about the showpiece event and are rather focusing on the IPL playoffs.

"The World Cup is definitely in the back of our minds but we haven't spoken much about it. The IPL playoffs is the best preparation because in IPL, most of your rivals in the World Cup will be there. Rishabh and I have the same mindset. We don't think too far and worry about outside noise. We know we will be putting pressure on ourselves if we obsess about planning for the World Cup."

Talking about how he got his nickname, Axar said: "The nickname Bapu is very popular in Saurashtra. When I replaced Jaddu bhai, Mahi bhai said I am also a similar left-arm spinner and a left-handed batter from Gujarat. He said calling 'Axar' while cheering from behind the stumps wasn't much fun. Thus, he started calling me 'Bapu' because Jaddu bhai is from Saurashtra. And once Mahi bhai said it on the stump mic, my name had to be Bapu. Rishabh has taken it another level on the stump mic."

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Indian Premier League, 2021ICC World Twenty20, 2021Delhi CapitalsIndiaAxar Patel

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