How Akshar Patel became Axar Patel

While the left-arm spinner has preferred to spell his name across social media platforms as Akshar, official records, including BCCI’s, reflect it as Axar.

It has been a memorable series for Axar Patel.   -  BCCI

His variations, especially arm-ball, have bamboozled the England batsmen in the ongoing series but the spelling of his name has been a mystery ever since Axar Patel became an IPL sensation in 2014. To unravel the mystery, one has to travel to Nadiad, his hometown, around 90 minutes’ drive away from Ahmedabad.

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While the left-arm spinner has preferred to spell his name across social media platforms as ‘Akshar’, official records, including BCCI’s, reflect it as ‘Axar’.

Mistake by nurse

Contrary to what has been widely reported, Akshar became Axar due to an error of a nurse at the clinic at the time of his birth. “He was born in Anand (a town famous for milk products) and the nurse issued the hospital certificate for birth registration spelling it as ‘Axar’. That’s how it stuck to him,” says mother Priti, who, in Axar’s teens, was hesitant to let her son pursue cricket due to fears of him getting injured.

Axar Patel's parents Rajeshbhai and Pritiben at their residence in Nadiad.   -  The Hindu

 

Didn’t the family — which has a convenient one-storied bungalow in a nondescript locality of the town where Axar’s and his uncle’s family resides together — feel the need to get his name in official records changed at some stage to clear the confusion?

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“How did it matter back then? We didn’t know he would go on to become such a big cricketer. Otherwise we would have definitely got it changed,” says Sanship, elder cousin of the southpaw.

Freak injury

Axar, during his exploits in the pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad in the third Test, had mentioned that a freak injury had meant he had to stop bowling left-arm pace and turn to spin. Sanship reveals it wasn’t an on-field injury that caused the turnaround.

Axar Patel's residence in Nadiad.   -  The Hindu

 

“He was playing in the fields as a schoolkid and hurt his left shin with a sickle. Since then, he could never bowl fast with a run-up,” says Sanship. But it was another injury in his first season of playing with the hard ball that forced his mother to start opposing her son’s love for cricket.

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“A ball hit him in the eye and me and his nani (maternal grandmother) thought he shouldn’t risk such injuries playing cricket,” Priti recalls.

It took Axar’s father Rajesh a lot of time to convince his mother and grandmother to ensure Axar’s love for cricket didn’t come to an abrupt halt. Due to domestic reasons, the family couldn’t watch Axar in action in the third Test from the stadium. “But next week, all of us will definitely travel to Motera and watch him in action. Just can’t wait for it,” says an elated Rajesh.