India all-rounder Axar Patel has credited a prolonged period in the national team setup for his uptick in batting form at the IPL.
Axar was in excellent touch for the Delhi Capitals on Tuesday, combining with Australia’s David Warner in a 67-run stand in just 6.2 overs, finishing with a 25-ball 54 against the Mumbai Indians.
Hitting five sixes in the knock, Axar took the Capitals out of the woods at 98/5 in the 13th over, helping the team post 172. The target proved competitive, though Axar’s side fell short, as Mumbai stole victory in another last-ball thriller at the tournament.
Playing a starring role in India’s Border-Gavaskar victory over Australia, Axar also enjoyed a fruitful T20I series with the bat against Sri Lanka earlier in the year, and boasts 91 white-ball appearances for his country.
The all-rounder upon his half-century in the IPL has also benefited from working under Ricky Ponting at the Capitals, though cited the importance of international experience, especially on the mental side of the game.
“When you’re playing all three formats for India, it boosts your confidence,” Axar said.
“Senior players like Virat bhai (Kohli) and Rohit bhai (Sharma). Hardik (Pandya) told me a few things about getting the mindset right.”
Axar was a member of India’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign in Australia last year, though the all-rounder found himself walking out to bat in late-over situations, forced to go for broke from the first ball. In 2023, the 29-year-old has enjoyed time in the middle, both in India’s Test series against Australia, and during a home T20I series against Sri Lanka earlier in the year.
Looking back, Axar credits the opportunities earlier in the year as invaluable experience.
“As an all-rounder, when you score 20-30 runs, you think you can go for the big shots. I changed that thinking, to control the game and finish it,” Axar said.
“These were the mindset changes I worked on. From the Sri Lanka series, when I scored runs, I got the confidence and it is that confidence that got carried forward.”
Axar was thrown in a little earlier than expected during the Sri Lanka series, with scores of 31* (20), 65 (31) and 21* (9), helping India to a 2-1 series win.
The all-rounder insists that experience can lead to match-winning contributions for a Delhi side desperate to register their first win of the 2023 tournament.
“Even if I come up to bat at No.4, 10-12 overs are enough for me,” he added.
“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 important to remain positive and that’s what we keep talking about.”
As for his future role in the team, teammate Warner has faith in Axar should he move higher up the order.
“I think from the last three games, we have some positives, but we shouldn’t lost wickets in clumps,” Warner said.
“Axar should bat in the top four the way he is striking the ball. From the last three games we have played, there are a lot of positives.”
News Source: https://www.icc-cricket.com/news/3146547