Following the conclusion of the T20I series on November 21, India will take on New Zealand in a two-match Test series. The first Test begins on November 25 in Kanpur and the second Test in Mumbai begins on December 3.
Axar Patel, who has been included in the Test squad to face the Black Caps, believes that Team India will hold a significant edge over their opponents. This will be New Zealand’s first assignment in the second edition of the World Test Championship. The Kiwis were the winners of the previous cycle, beating India in the final hosted in Southampton.
Axar mentioned that spin-friendly conditions will give the Men in Blue a decisive advantage compared to New Zealand who perform better in seaming conditions. Despite that, they cannot afford to take an opponent as formidable as New Zealand lightly. Axar, who had a fantastic Test series against England earlier this year, hopes to have a similar influence against the Kiwis.
“I will try to perform as well as I’d done during the Test series at home against England. It will be a good series against New Zealand. They perform better in seaming conditions than in pitches favouring spin. That will be challenging for them; we have the home advantage,” the all-rounder told Sportstar.
The 27-year-old went on to praise New Zealand who have been excellent in all three formats. The Black Caps made it to the final of the recently concluded T20 World Cup in UAE. They ended up falling one step short in the final, much like in the 50-over World Cup two years ago.
“At the same time, they’re playing really well in both red-ball and white-ball formats – they defeated us in the World Test Championship final – and therefore we can’t take them lightly. We have to be ready with our plans.”
Axar Patel has had an immense growth in his career in the last couple of years. The Test series against England proved to be a much-needed breakthrough for the spinner who ran riot against the English batters. In his debut Test, he picked up 27 wickets from three Tests and formed a formidable partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin.
When asked about what he has learnt from the more senior spinners in the squad, Axar mentioned, “Ashwin and I are different types of bowlers, and wrist-spinner Mishy bhai is different as well. Physically we don’t compare our bowling with each other. Our roles and styles are different. Ashwin gives the ball a bit of flight, I like to deliver it fast. But when we practice, we discuss strategies and game plans, or basically, hone the mindset required for success. The mindset to bowl is what I’ve learnt from them – how to bowl in a given situation, etc.”