India asserted their dominance in the T20I series against Afghanistan, securing an unassailable lead with a six-wicket victory in the second match at Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore on January 14. Axar Patel showcased his bowling prowess, contributing significantly with figures of 2/17 in four overs as India clinched the series.
In a playful yet pointed remark after the match, Suryakumar Yadav took a subtle dig at the upcoming Test series between India and England. Yadav, while congratulating Axar Patel on his exceptional performance, humorously remarked, “Ball to 12 din baad ghumni chahiye” (The ball should have spun after 12 days), accompanied by three laughing emojis.
The comment alluded to the potential challenges England might face on spin-friendly pitches in the Test series. The conversation around spin-friendly pitches has been a recurring theme, with memories of India’s previous Test series against England in 2021.
Suryakumar Yadav praises the amazing bowling spell of Axar Patel against Afghanistan in the second T20I 👏🏻🔥🏏
— InsideSport (@InsideSportIND) January 14, 2024
During that series, Axar Patel emerged as a star performer, finishing as the second-highest wicket-taker with 27 wickets in three games at an impressive average of 10.59. Ravichandran Ashwin led the bowling charts with 32 wickets from four games at 14.72.
The dynamics of England’s red-ball cricket have evolved since their last visit to India, notably under Brendon McCullum’s coaching and Ben Stokes’ captaincy. The team has adopted a more flamboyant style of play, often referred to as ‘Bazball.’ As the Test series approaches, cricket enthusiasts are curious to witness how England’s aggressive approach fares on potentially challenging turning tracks in India.
The third and final T20I between India and Afghanistan is scheduled for January 17 in Bengaluru. This match serves as India’s last encounter before the highly anticipated Test series against England, commencing on January 25 at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Having recently drawn a Test series against South Africa, Rohit Sharma’s team aims to carry the momentum forward. Meanwhile, England returns to Test cricket for the first time since their victorious fifth Ashes Test in July 2023.