Playing his first match of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 for Delhi Capitals (DC), Axar Patel not just finished with 2 for 26 from his four overs, but also returned to bowl an excellent Super Over against Kane Williamson and David Warner, conceding just seven from it. Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan knocked over the runs in the one-over eliminator and with that, DC had now won four out of their five games and currently sit pretty in second place.
Axar said that he threw his name in the hat to bowl the super over after a discussion with Pant, who then spoke to Ricky Ponting. "When I was in the dressing room, I knew that the pitch would assist spinners," Axar said of the challenging Chepauk track.
"When we went down, there were a lot of discussions. We thought initially that we could go with a pacer since they will be sending a left-right combination."
"After that, just when we were going to the ground, I thought, even a spinner could be effective. So I told Rishabh 'Even I can bowl, think about it'. So he spoke to (coach) Ricky (Ponting) and it was decided at the last moment that I will bowl," he added.
A few sessions with the team and he was raring to go. "I was ready from my end," he said when asked about returning to the playing XI.
"The team management asked me how I am feeling after (recovering from) Covid. You know your body better. I had done four sessions already.
"On Chennai's wicket, the ball has been coming slow and turning. I told the management that I'm match fit, so they told me that if I'm ready I will play straight away," the left-arm spinner added.
The fact that Axar was coming off a terrific outing in his debut Test series against England and equally impressive performances in limited-overs matches prior to the IPL must have added to his confidence heading into the lucrative league. "I was bowling well even before COVID -- in the Tests as well as the T20s," he said.
"I was carrying that confidence. I wasn't thinking too much about COVID... obviously, it was a frustrating phase."
(With inputs from PTI)