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'When he meets, he sits on floor with me. Arey tu India player hai, I tell him,' reveals star all-rounder's former coach

Updated on Jul 26, 2022 06:35 PM IST

India's 28-year-old all-rounder's former coach says despite achieving stardom, the cricketer remains grounded. 

Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel are India's top all-rounders currently. (Getty Images)
By, New Delhi

Indian cricket has reached a stage where they have no shortage of all-rounders. Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja are India's two premier all-rounders, to go with the likes of Shardul Thakur, Deepak Hooda and Krunal Pandya. The fact that most bowlers can bat and a lot of batters can roll their arms over holds India in good stead. However, riding high on his exploits in the second ODI between India and West Indies, Axar Patel has joined the list. Axar, primarily a left-arm spinner, had earlier showed sparks with the bat but the innings he played on Sunday stunned everyone. Axar's maiden half-century saw India through in a thrilling finish, all the more enhancing his reputation as an all-rounder.

But Axar's rise with the bat is not new. The India all-rounder's former coach Vijay Patel has recalled the humble beginnings of Axar, explaining how despite achieving stardom, the 28-year-old remains extremely down to earth.

"I have known him since his under-16 days for Gujarat. He's very focused and mentally relaxed. Success or the India cap hasn't changed him. He's still very humble. We spoke today. He was really happy. Sometimes when he comes to meet me, he'll sit on the floor with me. 'Arey tu India player hai (you're an India player),' I tell him. He's enjoying his life and cricket. He's such a jovial character that the dressing room atmosphere is different when he's around. He makes other players enjoy with him," Times of India quotes Patel as saying.

With Hardik establishing himself as India's No. 1 all-rounder with his supreme comeback with both bat and ball, Axar's competition for the second all-rounder's spot is with Ravindra Jadeja. But with Jadeja injured, Axar has grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Patel revealed that even when Jadeja was peaking and Axar was sidelined and not in the reckoning, he never appeared flustered.

"Sometime back, there was a phase when Jadeja was doing so well that Axar almost seemed forgotten. However, he seemed completely relaxed about it. 'Don't worry sir. Aage dekh lenge (we'll see in the future)' he told me. He wasn't feeling any pressure," Patel said. "It doesn't make a difference to him if Jadeja is around or not. He's only focused on his own performance. As I said earlier, he's just relaxed and enjoying his game. It's this attitude which helps him keep performing well."

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