Axar Patel shares how Rishabh Pant helped him play a crucial cameo in IND vs PAK match
By SMCS - Jun 11, 2024 2:31 pm
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Team India spinner Axar Patel credited ‘captain sahab’ Rishabh Pant for helping him play with ease when he came to bat at No. 4 at a key stage against Pakistan in the 2024 T20 World Cup on Sunday, June 9 as well. He said Pant, his captain at the Delhi Capitals (DC), made him feel comfortable by having a bit of “fun” as well. Notably, Axar was promoted to up the order to counter Pakistan’s left-arm seamers attack. He started slowly but ended up with 20 (18). His 39-run stand with Pant helped India recover from 19/2 when they had lost the Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma very cheaply.

Naseem Shah
Naseem Shah cleaned up Axar Patel

“There was no chance to plan when I got to know I was going at number four!” Axar Patel told BCCI. “It was easy for me because our captain sahab (Rishabh) wasn’t saying anything about cricket and was just having a bit of fun to make me feel easy while telling a few things [about the game] here and there after every ball. So while talking I also felt a bit easy that everything’s going alright.”

“There was nothing much on my mind, I was just planning to keep it simple with a positive mindset because India-Pakistan is always a high-pressure game,” the keeper-batter further said. “Then, when Bapu came in – I think he has practiced batting at No. 3,4 all IPL (laughs) – when your mate is with you, you get comfortable. We were speaking to each other, being comfortable, and not thinking much about the situation.”

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant

However, Axar Patel also bowled a match-defining over in the second innings where he conceded just two runs in the 16th over by firing it short, quick and wide outside the off-stump as well.

“The plan was just that I didn’t want to give the ball to him in his range and get hit for a six at deep mid-wicket because the wind direction was that side too. I spoke to the captain, Rohit (Sharma) bhai, to give me 2 point fielders, and a sweeper fielder ready for the cut shot as well and I’ll bowl him for the cut shot. [I thought] if he hits a cut or hits one through covers that’s okay because it’s a very difficult shot. I executed it well, the over went well and the runs difference increased,” Axar Patel concluded.