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India vs New Zealand: Axar Patel not focusing on being Ravindra Jadeja’s replacement

Axar Patel is Indian cricket team’s main finger spinner in the ongoing series against New Zealand. Off-spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin are currently out of the Virat Kohli-led side

india vs new zealand 2017 Updated: Nov 03, 2017 19:06 IST
Rajesh Pansare
Rajesh Pansare
Hindustan Times, Rajkot
India vs New Zealand,Axar Patel,Ravindra Jadeja
Axar Patel has performed well for India in the series against New Zealand and Australia.(AP)

Visiting teams often depend on sweep shot to counter Indian spinners. While some succeed, others fail miserable. New Zealand employed the same tactics against India in the ongoing tour.

While the Kane Williamson-led side started out brightly, the Virat Kohli-led hosts have countered the strategy leaving the Black Caps searching for answers.

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Axar Patel’s dismissal of Tom Latham, New Zealand’s best player in this series so far, in the second ODI in Pune is a perfect example of change is India’s tact.

The sweep shot reaped the left-handed batsman good rewards in the first ODI in Mumbai, which New Zealand won comfortably, and he was adamant on continuing with his strategy in Pune.

But he was found wanting this time around as Patel slipped a quicker and a fuller deliver from round the wicket which Latham failed to pick and was castled. Before that, both Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal varied their pace and line to trouble the New Zealanders.

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In the first T20 in New Delhi, Latham and skipper Kane Williamson were trying to break away but Indian bowlers presented them with no opportunities to bring the sweep into play.

“In the first match they were sweeping so we had an idea that this will be their strategy to counter spin. From the next match onwards, our strategy was to keep them guessing, bowling from both sides of the wicket and keep varying the line and length,” said Patel on Friday.

Both Patel and Chahal have complemented well in the middle overs and he feels no qualms about playing a containing role when Chahal is bowling from the other end.

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“Wrist spinner’s role is to be more attacking as they can extract more turn from a wicket than a finger spinner. Finger spinner job is to contain the opposition and as the pressure grows from both ends wickets will come” said Patel when quizzed about his role while bowling with Chahal.

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Patel, who was India’s most economical in the first T20, isn’t taking his place in the Indian team for granted nor he sees himself as a replacement for Ravindra Jadeja. “I’m not thinking on those lines (of replacing Jadeja). My focus is always on the next match and not cementing my place in the Indian team. If I play well in one of the matches, I will get an opportunity in the next game as well,” said the lanky left-arm spinner, who feels his knowledge of the Rajkot wicket will help him is countering the New Zealand batsmen.

First Published: Nov 03, 2017 19:05 IST