With two wins from two matches, Team India has made a great start to the T20 World Cup. The Blues are currently at the top of the points table in their group. Ahead of the marquee tournament, an injury-hit India team has been roped in with Axar Patel in place of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami in place of paceman Jasprit Bumrah. The damaging failures did not cost India much as the substitutions became more frequent.
Axar has proven himself with the ball but is yet to match Jadeja’s brilliance with the bat. On 23 October, he stepped up to discuss the dangers of left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz and leg-spinner Shadab Khan during India’s match against Pakistan. But the 28-year-old ran out after his engagement with Virat Kohli.
“They (Pakistan) had left-arm spinner Nawaz and leg-spinner Shadab, so it was important to send in the left-armer and I was asked to go. As our top six is right-handed, the management said to me: I am going to move up to the middle order and I have to be ready for that. This role has already been appointed and I have performed in practice games,” Aksar told the media.
“The pitch was a bit dry and the ball was stopping and coming. The ball didn’t quite catch, so I was told to hit the deck hard because it was difficult to get over the line. That was the plan,” Akar said. After the match, he and R Ashwin bowled over the Dutch. After the Pakistan game, I sat down with the video analysts and the bowling coach. In fact, there will be days when the beating goes against you. I analyzed and hit only one bad ball out of the three sixes that were hit against me. You’ll have those days too, but if you keep thinking about it, you won’t be able to live.”
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Axar played well against the Netherlands in India’s second match of the tournament. He picked two wickets and bowled at 4.50 in his four overs. However, it remains to be seen whether captain Rohit Sharma and Co will play Patel in Sunday’s match against South Africa.
The Proteas have several left-handers at the top, which may lead the team management to make changes to the playing XI. Since the match will be played in Perth, the pitch will suit fast bowling, the Indian team may field an additional fast bowler.
“I’m not thinking too much about the SA game. I’ll go there and then take a call and what to do. We have to play normal fearless cricket and not think we’re going to face Rabada Northje on the bounce. We’ve got Bhuvi, Shami and Arshdeep. We have to continue with our form and see what happens. The main difference between Indian and Australian wickets is the bounce. In India, the batter can’t easily swing the rope and negotiate the low bounce. In Australia, there’s not much purchase on the track. It’s difficult to hit someone over the line on the back foot. not,” Aksar noted.