Ravindra Jadeja’s injury created a huge void in this Indian T20I setup. The left-handed all-rounder was a glue to the Men in Blue and his absence had made the management make several moves to fill that vacuum. While Jadeja’s impact with the bat and in the field is almost impossible to match, his bowling in the shortest format has often been underwhelming.
When Axar Patel replaced the all-rounder, they had someone who was an upgrade in terms of his bowling. First in Mohali and later in Nagpur, Axar showed exactly why his bowling is deadly, with figures of 3/17 and 2/13 in the two contests.
In Nagpur, with the T20I shortened to eight-overs-a-side, the left-arm spinner delivered a killer blow to Australia’s hopes with wickets of Glenn Maxwell and Tim David. After the clash, in a chat with Yuzvendra Chahal, the left-arm spinner opened up on the importance of being brave as a bowler in clashes like this.
“We were waiting in the dressing room for a long time. But even then, we were discussing plans and talking about the game, being switched on for the encounter. When you know it is a shortened game, the batters will be after the bowlers,” Axar told Chahal in a video posted by BCCI.
“So as a bowler, it was very important for me to be brave and stick to my line and length. But in that process if the batter does get a few runs, it is fine. Even good deliveries go for boundaries but my plan was to keep it tight, stump to stump, not giving the batter any sort of room,” he added.
Looking back at India’s loss in Mohali, the left-arm spinner insisted that there was no real help for the bowlers. His spell, 3/17 surely put India in good stead and talking about the same, the left-arm spinner stated that his plan was to keep it tight and vary his lengths.
“In Mohali, I knew the conditions well, having played for Kings XI Punjab. And the fact that we batted first, we were aware of how the pitch behaved, with no real help for the bowlers. Our plan was to just keep it tight given how there was very little on the pitch for the bowlers,” he added.
As the game progressed, Axar opined that it was important to pitch the ball up in the yorker length, forcing the batters to take a risk, a move that worked out.
“I varied my line and length according to the batters. In the end, I was trying to get my yorkers, knowing that the batters would try to take me on.”