Off-spinner Axar Patel made full use of the opportunity he got in the ongoing Test series against England with a match-winning performance in the Pink-Ball Test. Axar, who was picked in the team as a replacement for all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, claimed 11 wickets in the third Test to set up a massive victory for India. Jadeja sustained a thumb fracture during Australia and was ruled out of the England Tests as many in the cricketing world predicted that India will miss him in the series. However, Axar turned the tables and bowled exceedingly well in his first two Tests on the international stage.

Axar was named Man of the Match for picking 11 wickets in Ahemdabad, which is the maximum by any bowler in a pink-ball Test. After the match, flamboyant all-rounder Hardik Pandya took an interview with local boy Axar for BCCI.tv.

During the conversation, Axar opened up on his mindset when he was out from the team.

“When I was out of Team India for three years, I used to think on how can I work on my game to improve my bowling and batting. Many friends continued to ask why I wasn’t in the team when I was performing consistently in the IPL and for India A, so that was also in my mind,” Axar told Pandya.

“But I knew that I need to wait for the right time. My friends and family have helped me a lot in the past 2-3 years, and you’re also one of them. I learnt a lot on how to tackle the tough phase, so I credit them for supporting them during my tough time.”

 

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Meanwhile, in the middle of the interesting chat, India skipper Virat Kohli made a special cameo and hailed Axar in Gujarati. He came from behind and took the mic from Pandya, saying “Ae Bapu taari bowling kamaal chhe! (Bapu, your bowling is wonderful!) to Axar Patel.

Earlier, after winning the third Test, Kohli heaped huge praise on Man of the Match Axar, who claimed his maiden 10-wicket haul in just his second game. Kohli feels Axar filled the shoes of Ravindra Jadeja very well and created trouble for English batsmen.

“A lot of people when Jaddu got injured might have been relieved but this guy (Axar) comes in and bowls faster than Jadeja at that height. I don’t know what’s with Gujaratis and left-arm spin,” Kohli said in the post-match presentation.