Delhi Capitals all-rounder Axar Patel on Tuesday said he has "ticked all the boxes" in every department and reckoned the franchise has the firepower this time to win the IPL title, which has so far eluded them. Moved out of India due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, the 13th edition of the world's biggest T20 league will be held in the three venues of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah in the UAE from September 19 to November 10. Delhi Capitals will enter the tournament as one of the top contenders.
Commenting on the team that comprises some fine players, Axar said, "With the new changes, I think the squad looks good. With fast bowlers, spinners and all-rounders, we have covered all the bases and I think we can become champions this time.
"Everyone looks positive in the nets and we all are in good shape."
The 26-year-old left-arm spinner, who is slowly adapting to the new normal amid the pandemic, spoke about the challenges that lay ahead and the experience of training while staying in a bio-bubble. "Obviously, with no crowd, we'll feel empty. Then, the saliva ban is going to make a big difference for the bowlers.
"During initial practice sessions, I was being conscious of not using saliva or sweat on the ball. So, these are the challenges which we will have to be wary of.
"Nevertheless, the positive thing is that at least we will have action-packed cricket after a long time, which is a good thing for not only us, but also for India. Everyone will enjoy the game with a different frame of mind which will be really exciting," he said.
As part of the guidelines framed by the BCCI, the players and support staff will be tested every five days throughout the league. "We are feeling a little bad that we can't enjoy the matches with our friends. After every two days, tests are being conducted. "We can't go out anywhere and we can't sit for more than 15 minutes in anyone's room, so these things are challenging, but slowly we are getting used to it."
After years of failing to live up to their potential, Delhi Capitals made the playoffs last season and will look to improve on that showing in the upcoming edition. Speaking on how he is preparing for the first match against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday, Axar said, "First of all, it feels really good to be back playing on the ground after being off from cricket for a long time due to lockdown.
"Since we are in the tournament week, it feels really good and the boys are in a positive frame. I feel I am practicing with a positive mindset. I have ticked all the boxes in bowling, batting and fielding, so I think I have prepared well enough," he concluded.