IPL 2017 the last chance for me to get selected for Champions Trophy: Axar Patel

Axar Patel will be looking to use IPL 2017 as a platform to showcase his talent ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy team selection.

ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 12, 2017 15:29 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, Indore
IPL 2017,Axar Patel,Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab bowler Axar Patel (C) celebrates after dismissing Rising Pune Supergiant batsman Ben Stokes in IPL 2017.(AFP)

Axar Patel was turning out to be an effective and economical spin-allrounder option for India, till a thumb injury sidelined him at the end of 2016. The 23-year-old from Gujarat missed the ODI series against England and also the Ranji Trophy final for Gujarat.

At that point, Axar was No.9 in ICC ODI rankings for bowlers and the No. 1 among Indians. Since then, he has slipped to No. 11 but still is the highest-ranked Indian bowler in ODIs.

READ | Hashim Amla trumps AB De Villiers as KXIP beat RCB by 8 wickets

However, looking ahead at the ICC Champions Trophy in June, Axar Patel knows well that his absence from international cricket may hamper his chances of getting selected in the Indian squad for the tournament in England. The presence of other senior spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra is also an added competition.

Axar Patel, thus, is taking the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) as his last chance for putting his case forward for national team selection. He has started off on the right note too. Playing for Kings XI Punjab, he took 1/27 against Rising Pune Supergiant and 1/12 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. He even got the Man of the Match for the latter performance. He is also contributing with the bat.

After the Royal Challengers match, Axar Patel talks about Champions Trophy, Kings XI Punjab, Virender Sehwag and much more:

Q: The Champions Trophy is just after the IPL. Are you taking this T20 competition as a platform to get back into the national team?

Yes, it is in the back of my mind, taking IPL as a platform to get selected for Champions Trophy. There are no other tournaments after this. So, I have to do well here.

READ | Why Royal Challengers Bangalore axed Chris Gayle to include AB de Villiers

However, my main focus is on IPL. If I will think too much about Champions Trophy then I will put too much pressure on myself, and will not be able to do well here. I am taking one match at a time in IPL, so that I get selected for the next match here.

Q: You bowled the first over for Kings XI Punjab, and got the wicket of Shane Watson. Your thoughts?

We have an Australian captain (Glenn Maxwell) and there was an Australian batsman in front. He (Maxwell) knows what works against them. He knew that Watson is not a good player of left arm-spin. But even then I was surprised as I was brought in the first over itself. I delivered.

Q: In both the matches of King XI Punjab, you have come to bat ahead of players like Glenn Maxwell, David Miller? You have On batting at No. 3

Against RCB, the total that we were chasing was low and we got a good start. RCB had two spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Iqbal Abdulla. Pawan Negi can also bowl spin. So, I was sent because I have ability to hit. It would have been easier for us to chase then.

READ | Hashim Amla proves his mettle with stellar knock vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

Q: KXIP have won two matches on the trot. Any areas that still need improvement?

We have down well while chasing in the first two matches. In the first match (against RPS) our top four did not do well. Aagainst RCB, Amla fired. It’s very important that one of our top four batsman does well. Also, we conceded 60-70 runs against Bangalore in the last five overs. That is an area we should improve.

Q: AB de Villiers scored a 46-ball 89* against your team, Your thought on that innings?

If a batsman of his caliber starts doing well, one can’t do anything. He played some unbelievable shots. We did well in the first 10 overs, restricting the RCB batsmen. But then AB de Villiers started to fire. Full credit to him.

Q: Glenn Maxwell has been in great form in the first two matches. Is he turning into KXIP’s backbone?

Maxwell is playing freely this year and more importantly is finishing the chase. That is a very big plus for us.

Q: How has been influence of Virender sehwag on KXIP?

He is always bindaas. If there is a bad day in office he doesn’t say ‘yeh galat hua, woh galat hua’. He always says ‘Ok hai, thik hai, forget what has happened.’ This is his nature. He always says that IPL is a long tournament and one should not lose focus after a bad performance.

First Published: Apr 11, 2017 16:49 IST