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Kings XI Punjab focussing on own strengths: Axar Patel

Axar Patel, who has 38 ODIs and 11 T20s behind him, felt that Kings XI Punjab need to play to their strength and not think about Sunrisers Hyderabad’s unbeaten run ahead of the last home tie in Mohali

cricket Updated: Apr 18, 2018 23:49 IST
Shalini Gupta
IPL 2018,Indian Premier League,Axar Patel
Axar Patel is hoping to play a key role in Kings XI Punjab’s IPL 2018 campaign.(PTI)

One can gauge the faith the Kings XI Punjab think-tank had in left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who was the only cricketer which the franchise retained for IPL 2018.

The 24-year-old spinner had to miss the last game against Chennai Super Kings due to an injury in the left-thigh. Throwing light on his injury, this is what Patel said, “My left thigh obtained strain during the game against Royal Bangalore Challengers. I got an MRI done which showed 10 percent strain. I reckon I will be fine after a few net sessions and match-fit after one or two games.”

Axar, who has 38 ODIs and 11 T20s behind him, felt that Kings XI Punjab need to play to their strength and not think about Sunrisers Hyderabad’s unbeaten run ahead of the last home tie in Mohali. “We are not thinking about Sunrisers Hyderabad’s success in the tournament but focusing on our strengths and trying to work on our mistakes. Like we are having a problem in death overs and also when one wicket falls down, thereafter, two or three also fall. We need to be positive and give our best with improvements.” Axar took one wicket each in the matches against Delhi and Bangalore.

In the last match, Kings XI Punjab fast bowlers struggled in the death overs and Chennai Super Kings, led by MS Dhoni’s blitz, almost took the match away. Mohit Sharma, Andrew Tye and Barinder Sran were clobbered by MS Dhoni. “T20 is like that only. Two out of five bowlers emerge expensive in a match. The good thing is we have a good bench strength in the fast bowling department. Mohit, Barinder and Ankit Rajpoot are there,” felt Patel.

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“We started well in the tournament by winning the opening game against Delhi Daredevils. I think we did well in the last game also in the bowling department apart from the death overs which went for runs. Mahi bhai was in superb form and it is difficult to stop him when he is in that sort of form,” said Patel. Chennai lost the match to Punjab by four runs in the last outing.

“We will have different teams in upcoming matches which would require different strategies and Mahi bhai won’t be in all games to turn the tables around. We would aim to execute our plans,” added Patel, who is an important cog in the Kings XI Punjab spin department along with captain Ravichandran Ashwin and Afghanistan’s young spinner Mujeeb Ur Rehman.

“Spinners do play an important role in Kings XI Punjab scheme of things. Although, we are different from each other, like Ashwin is an off-spinner essentially, I am a left-arm spinner while Mujeeb bowls with great variations at 17. He is doing well and able to dodge the opposition. Our role is to bowl tightly in the middle-overs and get wickets which release pressure from fast bowlers back in the death overs,” shared Patel, who played last ODI for India against New Zealand in 2017 and last T20 against South Africa in February this year.

First Published: Apr 18, 2018 23:10 IST