Pune (Maharashtra): India head coach Rahul Dravid has lauded Axar Patel for his quickfire knock against Sri Lanka in the second T20I and said the all-rounder has been working hard on his batting.
“I think his [Axar’s] batting is coming up leaps and bounds. We always knew his quality with the ball, and it was just about developing his batting. He is working really hard on it. He has been with the team for more than a year now and it’s an area of his game that we have identified. We know that it’s important for us to have that,” Dravid said at a post-match press conference on Thursday. Axar Patel’s exploits with the bat kept India in the hunt, despite being 57 for 5 in the tenth over. He demonstrated his batting skills for the second time in two games after taking 2 for 24 from his four overs.
Axar attacked Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga as Suryakumar Yadav steadied the inning. He scored 65 runs in only 31 balls, including three fours and six sixes, giving India some hope. However, his gallant effort could not seal the game and India lost by 16 runs.
Dravid mentioned that the all-rounder has delivered and risen to the occasion whenever required in the absence of Ravindra Jadeja.
“In whatever opportunities Axar has got, especially with injuries forcing [Ravindra] Jadeja out of a lot of cricket recently, he hasn’t let us down, whether it’s Test cricket, one-day cricket, or here. That’s a really good sign for us, to have people like him, to have people like Washy [Washington Sundar], who unfortunately is not getting a game. He is playing really well, he is batting really well as well. And then obviously, hopefully, Jadeja coming back gives us a nice little spin-bowling all-rounder area,” the head coach said.
Axar Patel’s blistering 65 of 31 balls and Suryakumar Yadav’s 51 of 36 balls went in vain as India lost to Sri Lanka in a high-scoring match at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Thursday. India were chasing a huge target of 207 runs.
India conceded seven no-balls and gave away plenty of runs in free hits. Arshdeep Singh overstepped three times in a row in the second over of the innings, becoming the first Indian bowler to bowl a hat-trick of no-balls in T20Is.