IPL 2023: David Warner trying to hit in last two-three games, not been coming off, says Axar Patel
New Delhi : The 67-run stand between David Warner and Axar Patel, coming in just 6.2 overs of Delhi Capitals innings against Mumbai Indians, encapsulated the contrast in form between the two left-handed batters.
On a pitch at the Arun Jaitley Stadium which was dry and offered assistance to spinners, Axar was in fine touch, and continued his dream run with the bat to get his maiden IPL fifty in 22 balls and would make 54 eventually.
Warner, on the other hand, began well, but was unable to break free from the shackles later due to lack of timing and was finding fielders consistently, taking 43 balls to reach a laborious half-century. Though Warner got his third fifty of the competition in a 47-ball 51, it didn’t have enough power to change Delhi’s end result.
After Delhi slumped to their fourth loss of IPL 2023, Axar revealed Warner had been trying hard to get back to his attacking self, but has been unable to do so. “No one has asked him (to be the anchor of the innings). Even in the last two-three games, when he has been trying to hit, it’s not been coming off. As a batsman, I don’t know what he is thinking at that moment. When Prithvi (Shaw) is batting, he has to anchor.”
“But after that when wickets keep falling in front of him, it’s not good to keep attacking. Even when he is trying, it’s not coming off. Everyone spoke to him – Ricky (Ponting), (Shane) Watson, Dada (Sourav Ganguly). The conversation about his strike rate have also come up. They looked at his videos and he’s working on it.”
What also hurt Delhi was losing their last five wickets for just seven runs to be bowled out for 172 in 19.4 overs, leaving two balls unused from their full quota of overs. Axar enthralled spectators with his eye-catchy sixes and fours, which raised questions over why the all-rounder wasn’t promoted earlier in the batting order.
Axar arrived to bat when Delhi were 98/5 in the 13th over and then lifted them to 165/5 at the start of 18th over. But he and Warner fell in quick succession and that brought Mumbai back in the match. Delhi’s tactic of persisting with left-right batting combination and lack of a strong finisher has resulted in fans not getting to see Axar coming up in the batting order.
“We were thinking about that (promoting me in the batting line-up). But invariably I’m still getting to bat 10-12 overs, whether I come up or arrive late (jokingly). So it doesn’t make a difference and I’m not complaining. Even if I come up to bat at number four, 10-12 overs are enough for me with the kind of form I am in T20 cricket.”
“On a serious note, we’ve had that chat. If you see our batting line-up, the domestic players are also good players of spin. If I come up too high in the order, the question is who will finish well? The captain and coach do think about what would happen I get out early, because that would lead to someone finishing very well not being there,” he added.
For someone who was a batter in under-19 days and took to spin bowling in senior cricket on a part-time basis before becoming an all-rounder, Axar is now being seen as someone who can turn around games with the bat though he has been far from his effective self with the ball. He put his improved batting show in the last few months to change in mindset from his India team-mates.
“When you’re constantly playing all three formats for India, it boosts your confidence. Senior players like Virat (Kohli) bhai and Rohit (Sharma) bhai. Hardik told me a few things about getting the mindset right. As an all-rounder, when you score 20-30 runs, you think you can go for the big shot.”
“I changed that thinking, to control the game, stay at the crease and finish it. These were the mindset changes I worked on. From the Sri Lanka series, when I scored runs and get the momentum, I got the confidence and it is that confidence that got carried forward.”
With Delhi still at zero points and unable to get off the bottom place in the points table, Axar chose to look at the positives from Tuesday’s game, which was decided in a thrilling last-ball finish.
“After four losses, there are two ways to think – one is you sit back thinking that you’ve lost four games, the run rate is poor and the qualification is at stake, there is nothing good that’s going to come out of it, and the required performance won’t come out too.”
“On the other hand, if you have a positive attitude, and think about what you’re going to do in the next match, you will be able to bring the performance that you want to bring. It’s very important to remain positive and that’s what we keep talking about. If all aren’t clicking together and our combinations are changing, then I think we are behind due to that.”
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