England captain Joe Root on Wednesday said that the visitors didn’t underestimate Axar Patel, who has been in brilliant form with the ball in the ongoing Test series. Local boy Axar, playing only his second Test, finished with 11 wickets in the third Test as India defeated England to go 2-1 up in the four-match series.
After picking up seven wickets in his debut Test in Chennai, Axar continued to trouble the English batsmen as the ball skidded on the surface in Ahmedabad.
“I definitely do not think that we underestimated Axar Patel. I think he has exploited the surfaces really well; he has managed to beat both edges of the bat. For any spinner, it is exactly what you are trying to do, every spinner is trying to keep all the modes of dismissals in play.
“I think he has done that very well; we have to make sure that we are covering our stumps and one goes past the outside edge, we just have to accept that,” said Root at a virtual press conference ahead of the fourth and final Test.
“We have got to put pressure back on the bowler; if we do get balls to score off, we have to make sure that we put them away. Similarly, if we get the opportunity to get off strike, we have to do that. It is trusting the basics of the game, and it is the most important thing for a team. We have that confidence in our team,” he added.
Axar, the local lad, will be eyeing his fourth five-wicket haul in red-ball cricket. After missing the first Test of the series due to injury, Axar has picked three consecutive five-wicket hauls. If he registers another fifer in the fourth Test, Axar will become the first bowler to pick a five-wicket haul in 4 consecutive innings since Test debut.
Axar is also on the cusp of breaking another bowling record. The tweaker currently has 18 wickets from three Tests and he needs 14 wickets or more in the final Test to become the most successful bowler in Test history after playing 3 Test matches. Former India leg-spinner Narendra Hirwani had plucked 31 wickets in his first three matches.