BAN vs IND: ‘Despite Being Talented, Axar Knows His Role Well’ – Laxman Sivaramakrishnan

The Indian Express

Rohit Singh

Modified Dec 3, 2022 8:28 PM IST

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Former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan said in absence of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal from the upcoming ODI series against Bangladesh. He would pick Axar Patel for Sunday’s first match of the series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka. Axar Patel had a forgettable time in the T20 World Cup in Australia, going for 8.62 runs per over. Took only three wickets in the tournament. With Ravindra Jadeja unavailable for the ODIs due to injury and no Kuldeep-Chahal around. Patel could look to be the lead spinner alongside Washington Sundar for ODIs against Bangladesh.

Image Source: ESPN Sports

“I would pick Axar as he’s got the ability to bat, is aware of the match situation, and doesn’t get under pressure most of the time. But somebody like Shahbaz (Ahmed, fellow left-arm spin all-rounder), you might think, yes Bangladesh. But don’t take them lightly as one knows what happened in 2007,” he said to IANS in an exclusive interaction organised by Sony Sports Network. Interestingly, both India and Bangladesh haven’t picked a specialist wrist-spinner for the upcoming ODI series.

Also Read: BAN vs IND: Injured Shami ruled out of ODIs against Bangladesh, doubtful for Tests

Axar needs to know what he is for and work out accordingly

Both Kuldeep and Chahal used to be automatic picks for India till they proved to be very expensive against England in the league stage. Since then, their ODI careers have gone in different directions. “As far as Kuldeep and Chahal are concerned, Kuldeep cried after he was carted all over the park (by Moeen Ali for 26 runs off five balls in IPL 2019) and everyone went after him post that point in the game. As the batters went after him, they hit a couple of sixes and put his morale down. About Chahal, how much success he has been in the 50-over format in the recent past? You can be economical in the middle overs like I spoke about Washington Sundar,” added Sivaramakrishnan.

Image Source: Mumbai Indians

He also cited an example from his playing days, where he tried to highlight how India need to show trust in the skills of Kuldeep and Chahal in ODIs to get wickets in middle overs. “When I played World Championship of Cricket in 1985, Sunil Gavaskar gave me the license and said, ‘go bowl ten overs, even if you give 50-55 runs’. That was very expensive at that point in time and he said, ‘I want two-three-four wickets from you. Ravi (Shastri) will bowl with you in tandem and he will keep it tight and create that pressure. I want you to bowl for four wickets’.”

“Between mine and Ravi’s ten overs, he would say that between 20 overs from both of you, I want 100 runs and four or five wickets. I worked to break the backbone of the opposition and that happened. It was a plan, and it happened from match number one till the finals. Apart from finals, we got every team all out under 50 overs. You need good planning, and skills and need to trust a cricketer to get you wickets. No matter how many runs you give these days, batsmen will chase it.”