Left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who made his debut in the ongoing second Test match between India and England, has asked the critics to change their mindset about the nature of the Chennai track.
The pitch laid out for this match has received a lot of criticism from former cricketers like Mark Waugh, Michael Vaughan, Sanjay Manjrekar, and Damien Fleming. But Axar believes that there is no such thing in the pitch to complain about it.
“It’s not as though someone has been hit in the helmet or the toes,” Patel said. “It is a normal wicket. We are playing on the same wicket and scoring runs. I feel no one should have an objection about this pitch. When we go out and get a seaming track, we don’t talk about excessive grass on the pitch. You have to change your mindset rather than think about the pitch.”
Axar was also asked about whether all this controversy motivated Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin to score as many runs as possible even though they probably had enough runs on the board to defend.
“We don’t think of outside and if we have to send a message,” Patel said. “We just batted normally. If it had been day four we would have thought of declaring.”
In fact, Patel also went on to mention that this is not one of those pitches where you just bowl and the track does the rest for you. He stressed on the fact that a bowler has to put a good number of revolutions on the ball to make something happen.
“The way the wicket is behaving, you know there is spin, but the spin is there only if you put some strength behind the ball,” he said. “If you leave it like that or flight it too much, then there is not much turn from the pitch. The speed has to be high. Otherwise the batsman is going back and has time to adjust. Speed is very important for a spinner on this pitch.”
Patel was supposed to feature in the first Test as well but a late injury forced him out of the game. While he agreed that he could have still played with the slight niggle he had, he also accepted that it would have stopped him from giving his best in both matches if he would have done that.
“I was selected to play the first Test but I pulled out because of the injury,” he said. “I didn’t want to play with a niggle and take the risk of letting the team down halfway into the match. The physio told me if I gave it time I will be fine for the second Test. So the physio and I took that call. It was frustrating but the positive is that I could give my 100% here.”