Axar Patel on Missing Three Potential Hundreds in Border Gavaskar Trophy

India put up a massive score of 571 runs in the first innings against Australia in the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Ahmedabad riding on splendid performances with the willow by former Indian captain Virat Kohli, opener Shubman Gill and all-rounder Axar Patel.

Axar came out to bat with India at 393 for the loss of 5 wickets and put up a solid 162-run stand alongside Kohli. Axar scored a valiant 79 runs off 133 deliveries, which brought up his third half-century in the home series against Australia after his 74-run knock in Nagpur followed by his 84-run performance in Delhi.

Gill scores his second Test ton on Day 3 of the final Test in the series before Kohli ended his long wait for a ton in the longest format of the game with a brilliant 186.

The way the left-hander was batting, it felt as though those fifties could well have been converted to tons, and when questioned regarding the same, Axar came up with a jovial reply at the presser after stumps on Day 4 of the final Test.

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“You have rubbed salt into the wounds,” he said jokingly.

“I know the chances I have missed don’t come often. Bade run karne the,” continued the 29-year-old.

“Positive is that I batted the way I wanted to and we had a good partnership when the team needed it. I am thinking about what you said, but not thinking too much about it right now. I feel it more when I get back to the room,” he said.

Kohli’s wife and Bollywood actress, Anushka Sharma, had shared a story on her Instagram handle to wish her husband on his latest Test landmark with a picture of the batsman celebrating his ton accompanied with the caption “Playin through sickness with this composure. Inspiring me always.”

Axar, however, opined that judging by the way the former skipper was running between the wickets, it did not seem like Kohli was sick.

“I don’t know. The way he was running, didn’t look like he was sick. The way he made that partnership, in this heat and the way he ran. It was good to have that stand with him,” Axar said.

Axar has been one of the most consistent performers in the series and has been crucial to India establishing a 2-1 lead. But, the man from Gujarat isn’t taking his place in the side for granted.

“What you are saying about me getting the place in XI for the WTC final, it’s not in my hands and I can’t do anything about it. I am performing in the chances I am getting and trying to focus on what’s in my hands.”

“The coach and captain decide the XI and my job is to perform consistently and earn that place in the XI,” he asserted.

As the Test rolls into the fifth day for the first time in the ongoing campaign, Axar felt that it is crucial to press hard for the wickets in the early part of the sessions on the last day of the game.

“Obviously, it will be the fifth day tomorrow. Bowling is being done for four days and there is a little bit of rough. The wicket is still hard and not enough is happening off it,” Axar explained.

“I feel it’s important to press hard for the wicket when a new batter walks in or a new session starts. When a batter gets set, there is not enough purchase for the bowler. Tomorrow we will try to not let them get set.”

Axar said Kohli asked him to continue playing in a positive manner as things seemed to fall in place for the Indians at the right time.

“When I was batting with Virat bhai, there wasn’t any specific message from the team. Virat told me to continue playing positively like I do.”

“Once we got set, the bowlers weren’t getting much assistance off the pitch too. Once I got set, I was connecting deliveries which were on my radar.”

“Virat bhai also said that now that the 50 is done, I can think big since 22 overs were left in the day’s play. There was no message around declaration or playing fast. He was batting on 150 and I was over 50, so the runs were flowing in.”

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Axar has gone from strength to strength in the series against Australia and said that he studied how to bat on spinning tracks”

“When we started with the camp in Nagpur, we knew we will be playing on turning tracks. I didn’t prepare or plan much but did my own study for playing on spinning tracks.”

“I just prepared myself to stand on the leg stump to keep a check on the possible LBWs and stumpings as they can happen on turning tracks.”

“I also planned to not step out much against off-spinners. I was getting myself ready for these things before the series started,” he elaborated.

When asked if he thought digging out a result in the final Test was possible ahead of the final day, the 29-year-old said that anything could still happen.

“It’s cricket. Anything can happen anytime. If we get 2-3 wickets early tomorrow, they might play defensively under pressure. The pitch is not like it was in the first three matches so we just can go and run over them.”

“You have to work hard and keep patience and keep bowling in the right areas.”

Axar said he was a little surprised that the first innings’ of the teams came to an end only after nearly four full days of play.

“After the first three matches, everyone said the game ended in three days. Now that the match is going to the fifth day, and you are saying it’s a surprise. It’s not in our hands.”

“We thought we will get some purchase from the wicket but we didn’t. We have to play according to the wicket.”

“We were a little surprised that only the first innings ended in the first four days. We can’t do much and can hope that we come tomorrow and win.”

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