Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer wants India captain Hardik Pandya to utilize his left-arm spin all-rounder Axar Patel in the best possible way for the remaining three T20Is against West Indies. His comments came after Axar wasn’t bowled in the second T20I, which India lost by two wickets.
Jaffer told ESPNCricinfo: “That’s been the problem with Axar, right from the IPL franchise to international cricket, any left-handers it feels like he’s not going to bowl. I can understand if Nicholas Pooran is on strike because he can have that big over if he fancies himself, but I thought when he and Shimron Hetmyer got out in the 16th over. I was surprised he was not thrown the ball for at least one over there instead of a fast bowler and then obviously you have Yuzvendra Chahal to bowl his fourth over, which didn’t happen.”
He continued: “It’s going to be a challenge for Hardik Pandya to use Axar Patel. How and when he uses him? In the first T20, he bowled in the powerplay, he was hit for a single and a four, but that’s the bet you have to take, you might end up picking up a big wicket against the left-hander. It’s not that left-handers don’t get out to left-arm spinners. Unfortunately, India didn’t had a big score for Hardik Pandya to take that risk. He needs to take that bet every now and then. Throw him the ball, he might pick a wicket of the left-hander, you never know.”
However, Axar Patel earlier bowled just one over in the opener, returning with figures of 0/22 in his two overs and the hosts won that game by four runs. The left-handed batter, meanwhile, needs to step up with the bat as he managed scores of 13(11) and 14(12) in the first two games, respectively as well.
“India will go ahead with this (same) combination. It’s just that batters need to put on a better show. One of the batters needs to score 60 or 70 and others can rally around, a bit of partnership and wickets in hand – Old formula that they need to stick to. If it doesn’t allow you to play fearlessly or the attacking brand of cricket because of the wicket, at least one or two guys need to stand up and make themselves count. If you have wickets, you have the firepower to finish strong. For that, the top order needs to do the bulk of the scoring. The complexion won’t change, but the batters need to stand up,” Wasim Jaffer concluded.