'He seemed to do it a lot of times, it's a good skill to have': Australia spinner 'loved watching' Axar Patel bowl
- India vs England: The Australia spinner admired Axar's performance and said he would be excited to play on sub-continent pitches.
Axar Patel couldn't have hoped for a better start to his Test career. After claiming a five-wicket-haul on debut against England in the second Test in Chennai, Axar took apart the England batting line-up, picking up 6/38 and 5/32 to bowl out the opposition for 112 and 81 in the two innings in the third Test in Ahmedabad. Axar's match-haul of 11 wickets helped India seal the third Test inside two days as the home team secured a 10-wicket-win to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
While the discussion about the Ahmedabad pitch is yet to die down, cricket experts around the world have given their opinion on whether the Ahmedabad surface was an ideal wicket for Test cricket. The latest to join on the wicket is Australia left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who's admitted that he loves watching Test matches in the sub-continent and in fact expected the wickets to behave similarly as it did, while admiring Axar's performance.
"I love watching cricket in the sub-continent. That is the greatest cricket to watch in the sub-continent as a spinner. Loved watching Axar Patel bowl. He was able to just hit the shiny side of the ball and get a few to go off the wicket," Agar told reporters on Monday.
"That's the most lethal one because you are expecting them to turn so much. He would have got maybe 10 of his wickets in the last couple of Tests with the straighter ones. Pretty exciting stuff, hopefully, the pitches stay this way in the subcontinent. It makes for really exciting cricket," Agar said.
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Agar is yet to play a Test match in India, but given the way things panned out, the left-arm spinner must be smacking his lips for an opportunity to bowl. In 2017, left-arm spinner Steve O’ Keefe produced a couple of memorable bowling performances in India, his match-haul of 12 wickets – 6/35 and 6/35 in the two innings against India in Pune, helped Australia register a cherished win on Indian soil.
Agar explained the dynamics of bowling from a left-arm spinner's point of view, pointing out how the mystery surrounding each and every ball is what helps the bowler thrive in such conditions. Agar revealed he is excited to play in the sub-continent.
"The key to bowling in the sub-continent is accuracy and consistency, hitting the stumps every ball. One might turn and one might not. Sometimes, if you don't know what the ball is going to do as a bowler. The batsman has absolutely no idea. However, Axar seemed to do it quite a lot of times," Agar added.
"Maybe it's something to work on. I am keen to play around with that after watching that. It's a really good skill to have. Rangana Herath is a good example of that. I don't know whether he meant to do it but he let the ball pitch in the same spot consistently."