Debutant slow left-arm bowler Axar Patel feels that critics of spinner-friendly tracks need to change their mindset as Indian cricket team has never complained about tackling seamer-friendly green tops overseas. The likes of former England captain Michael Vaughan termed the Chepauk pitch, used for the second Test, as “under-prepared” but India had two centurions with three players scoring half centuries across two innings and played 180-plus overs. “If you are talking about pitch, I don’t think any ball hit the helmet. There is normal spin on offer. We are playing on same track and scoring runs, so I don’t think anyone should have any problems and feel that wicket is like this or that and so on and so forth,” Axar said.
The 27-year-old Gujarat left-arm spinner, whose debut Test is also his 50th international game for India, took a dig at the English commentators and media for their take on the Chepauk surface.
“Also when we go overseas, we never complained while playing on seaming track and complained that there is more grass on the wicket,” Axar said.
“I think people need to change their mindset rather than thinking about the wicket,” he said at the end of third day’s play.
Axar explained that on this track, one needs to hit the deck hard in order to make use of the turn on offer.
“On this wicket, there is help for spinners so you don’t need to do anything extra,” he said.
“When you are putting a bit more effort and body into the ball, then you are getting the ball to spin. When you are hitting the deck hard, then only you are getting the ball to turn.
“If you are releasing it slowly, there is not much help for the slow bowlers. So hitting the deck with a decent speed is important and that’s creating difficulty for batsmen. If you bowl slow, then batsman are moving to back foot and adjusting,” Axar said.
So was India’s batting performance a statement to all those who criticised the track?
“When we play, we don’t think that outside world matters to us and we would like to give a message. We played normal cricket. If it was fourth day, we would have thought about declaring but it was third day and we had enough time. We thought we have to bat long,” he spoke about the team’s strategy.
Having already picked up four wickets to Ravichandran Ashwin’s six in the game so far, the injured Ravindra Jadeja’s stopgap replacement spoke about the respect he has for his senior national and IPL teammate.
“Myself and Ash have played a lot of cricket together and I have learnt a lot over the years about mindset from him. We have different actions and variations, so we generally talk about mindsets and working out various batsmen,” Axar said.
He was in line for a debut during the first Test but a knee niggle at the eleventh hour led to him being sidelined.
“Actually, I didn’t want to play my first match with a niggle and if I broke down in the middle of the game, that would have put my team in trouble,” Axar said.
“It wouldn’t have been a good thing and I didn’t want that to happen. So it was a conscious decision taken after consulting the physio. I was frustrated, but positive side is I could give my 100 percent in second match.”