‘Match-ups are important’: Rahul Dravid explains reason behind Axar Patel bowling only one over in 3rd IND-SA ODI
Head coach Rahul Dravid was questioned by the media over Axar Patel getting just one over to bowl, in the match against South Africa that India lost by 49 runs.
Axar Patel has been the star performer for Team India in the absence of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. The 28-year old has been the go-to bowler for captain Rohit Sharma for picking wickets and was selected as player of the series in the T20I series against Australia. However, the left arm spinner bowled just one over in the third T20I against South Africa and the tactics immediately drew the ire of cricket experts.
Quinton de Kock and Rilee Rossouw, two left-handed batters, were batting in the middle and India didn't use Patel against them. The Proteas batters stitched 90-run stand for the 2nd wicket and helped post the total to 227/3.
Head coach Rahul Dravid was questioned by the media over Patel getting just one over to bowl, in the match that India lost by 49 runs. One mediaperson raised eyebrows over Team India's reliance on match-ups during bowling and Dravid responded without mincing words.
"Match-ups are important, they are important to us. Whether they are more important or not, it's for you guys to dig deep and look at what stats tell you about match-ups, about numbers of left-hand batsmen against left-arm spin. Maybe you might get some answers to that," said Dravid.
"A lot of teams use match-ups, not only us. Like us, a lot of other teams look and delve into stats, into numbers. I think if you dwell on some of those numbers, you might get some answers. I would really request you to maybe look at some of those numbers, deeply, as deeply as we do," he added.
Going by recent matches, it seems Patel will have an important role to play as an all-rounder in the upcoming T20 World Cup. When Rishabh Pant doesn't play, he serves as the only left-handed batting option for the men in blue. India might use him in the role that Jadeja played during the Asia Cup 2022 against Pakistan where he batted up the order to negotiate left-arm spin.