Axar: Nobody should have reservations about the pitch

Debutant Axar Patel defended against criticism of the pitch for favouring spinners heavily, saying it has played true since the first day.

Axar Patel celebrates after taking a wicket in the second Test.   -  BCCI/Sportzpics

Debutant Axar Patel defended against criticism of the pitch for favouring spinners heavily, saying it has played true since the first day.

“As far as the pitch is concerned, not even one ball has hit the batsman’s helmet or taken off extraordinarily. It is just spinning normally. We are also playing on the same pitch and making runs. So nobody should have reservations about the pitch,” said Axar after he took two of the three wickets in England’s second innings late on Monday.

The left-arm spinner had to miss the first Test after complaining of knee pain and felt that the move was the right one than trying to play with a niggle.

“It was slightly frustrating but I didn’t want to play with a niggle and then midway through the match make the team suffer. I wanted to give myself time. If you look at it positively, I am able to give my 100% in the second Test,” said the 27-year-old.

IND vs ENG: India strikes after Ashwin century deflates England  

He also added that pitch demanded that the spinners hit the right speeds and to be on the quicker side to get maximum purchase. “The wicket is turning, but the turn is on offer when you bowl at a faster pace and have strength behind every ball. If you bowl slowly, the pitch is not offering as much assistance.”

Picked in the squad as a like-for-like replacement for Ravindra Jadeja, Axar said: “I know my strength as a bowler. My accuracy is my strong point and it works well for me. You don’t need to try too many variations or anything fancy. I am just looking to bowl at one spot and let the pitch do the work for me.”

After India lost early wickets in the morning, Axar revealed there were some nerves in the dressing room before Ashwin and Virat Kohli steadied things. “The partnership gave us confidence after we lost wickets regularly. When you have a big score on the board, you can bowl freely and confidently,” he said.

Meanwhile, England’s spin bowling coach Jeetan Patel backed his side’s batsmen to express themselves on the fourth day. “We've got stroke makers in the group and we want them to express themselves. That's been one of the strengths of our three Test matches in the sub-continent, still trying to score. If we sit back and try to defend for two days we're not going to have much success and not going to go anywhere in the game,” said the former New Zealand off-spinner.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :