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"Axar Patel grabbed the chance that Shahbaz Nadeem let go" - Ashish Nehra

Axar Patel grabbed a five-wicket haul in England
Axar Patel grabbed a five-wicket haul in England's second innings
Kartik Iyer
Modified 16 Feb 2021

Ashish Nehra has said that unlike Shahbaz Nadeem, Axar Patel made the best use of the opportunity given to him in the ongoing Test series against England.

Nadeem was drafted into the Indian playing XI for the first Test when Axar Patel injured his knee, but failed to impress with his performance. The latter grabbed his chance with both hands in the second Test in Chennai by claiming seven wickets in the match.

During a discussion on Star Sports, Ashish Nehra pointed out that Axar Patel utilised the spin-friendly conditions to the fullest.

"Axar Patel grabbed the chance that Shahbaz Nadeem let go of when he played because of Axar's injury. But Axar Patel did not make the same mistake. We repeatedly said that the conditions were favourable for spin bowling but still you need to bowl and take the wickets by showing the consistency," said Nehra.

The former Indian pacer highlighted that Axar Patel's vast experience of playing domestic cricket held him in good stead.

"The experience of domestic cricket was clearly evident as he did what he knows, he kept bowling at the same spot. We had discussed earlier as well that Ravichandran Ashwin was there in any case with the experience but Axar Patel can also take five wickets and he did that," added Nehra.

"I will give a lot of credit to Axar Patel" - Gautam Gambhir

Axar Patel
Axar Patel's immaculate lines and lengths came in handy on the Chennai track [P/C: BCCI]

While acknowledging that Axar Patel might have been slightly lucky to get a favourable track, Gautam Gambhir observed the left-arm spinner looked the most threatening bowler on the deteriorating fourth-day surface.

"There is a little bit of luck but when you work hard, luck also goes in your favour. We were expecting that if Axar Patel plays on this wicket, he will trouble the batsmen a lot. There was talk that he will be the most threatening bowler on the fourth-day wicket and he showed that as well," said Gambhir.

The former Indian opener signed off by stating that it was Axar Patel's consistent lines and lengths along with the pace at which he bowled that yielded him rich dividends.

"The pitch is one thing but to take wickets on that is a different ability. The pitch is same for everyone, England spinners also had the same pitch. The pace and accuracy with which Axar Patel bowled, because of that only he got the five wickets on debut and I will give him a lot of credit for that," concluded Gambhir.

Axar Patel has certainly made a bright start to his Test career and presented himself as a viable backup option for Ravindra Jadeja. However, he will have to prove his credentials on batsman-friendly decks to become a regular member of the Indian Test squad.

Published 16 Feb 2021, 21:36 IST
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