IND vs ENG: Axar on match-winning performance - It’s all about confidence

Axar Patel finally found his big moment in international cricket, seven years after first playing for India.

On a roll: Axar Patel made his Test debut in Chennai last week. - BCCI

Those who knew Axar Patel had just one question for him in the past three years - “Why aren’t you in the Indian team?” But Axar was unfazed as he knew his time would come. “I think it’s all about confidence,” the 27-year-old told Hardik Pandya in an interview posted on bcci.tv.

The left-arm spinner finally found his big moment in international cricket during the third Test against England, seven years after he made his India debut in an One-Day International against Bangladesh. Since that debut, he has been in and out of the team, with the spin all-rounder’s spot firmly with Ravindra Jadeja.

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‘Wait for the right time’

In this series, too, he made it because Jadeja was out injured. Axar hadn’t been in the national team since 2018 and made his Test debut in the second game against England last week in Chennai. “I have been out of the team for three years and at that time, I used to think about the areas of my game which need to be worked upon. So, I was working on my bowling and batting,” he said.

“When you are out of the team, many people, friends keep asking you ‘why aren’t you in the team despite doing well?’ These things keep coming in the mind. So, I told myself ‘just wait for the right time and whenever I get an opportunity I will give my 100 per cent’.”

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Axar, who hails from Anand, first tried his hand at cricket as a 15-year-old on the persuasion of a school friend. He had a solid backer in his grandmother who wanted to see him play for India but passed away before he made it.

Axar does not forget to acknowledge the role his family played in his rise. “I give all credit to my family, friends and team-mates who supported me in tough times,” he said.

 

Asked by Hardik if he found Test cricket easy, Axar replied: “Everybody asked me that question. When it goes your way then you think it’s easy but when you miss a full toss, you actually realise how easy it is.”

Axar said he would aim to continue in the same manner in front of his home crowd in the fourth and final Test against England, starting here on March 4. “(The day-night Test) was my second Test and first in Motera. It’s a special feeling to play and perform before the home crowd. My efforts would be to do the same,” Axar said.

India captain Virat Kohli also made an appearance during the interview, and appreciated his performance. “Ae Bapu taari bowling kamaal chhe! (Your bowling is wonderful!),” Kohli said.