T20 World Cup 2022: Axar Patel, a dynamite all-rounder in the making 

By Indraneel Chakrabarty: Hailing from Nadiad in Gujarat, born on 20 January 1994, standing approximately 1.83m tall, Akshar Rajeshbhai Patel made his international debut on 15 June 2014 in an ODI against Bangladesh at Dhaka. His T20 debut followed a year later, on 17 July 2015, against Zimbabwe at Harare. Test induction occurred quite late, in February 2021.

Debuting in the 2nd Test against England in 2021 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, he became the 9th Indian bowler to collect a fifer in his debut Test match. He emulated Dilip Doshi by becoming the second Indian left-arm spinner to do so.

Named BCCI Under-19 Cricketer of the Year 2012-13, Axar Pate may well step in to try and fill the void being felt due to Ravindra Jadeja’s unavailability for the T20 World Cup. With an IPL hat-trick to his name, playing for Kings XI Punjab against Gujarat Lions in IPL 9 (2016) (dismissing Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Bravo, and Ravindra Jadeja), his T20 credentials aren’t really in doubt.

His exceptional Ranji outing in the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy saw him gather 369 runs @ 46.12 and 29 wickets @ 23.58 in 7 matches, leading to being awarded “BCCI Under-19 cricketer of the Year” in 2014. Stellar performance in his debut season with Kings XI Punjab, wherein he snared 16 wickets @ 6.22, saw him earn the “Emerging Player of the Tournament” in IPL7.  

His performances, however, were not enough to merit his permanency in the Indian line-up. His performances have, however, always presented a constant challenge to players of the calibre of R. Ashwin and Jadeja.

The structure and system of Indian cricket can throw up high-quality spinners at the rate of a production line, and there’s certainly no dearth of spin-bowling all-rounders. If India could, it would have scripted quite a different story with the troika of Ashwin, Jadeja and Axar in the XI. However, given the intensely competitive nature of the sport in India, Axar had to bide his time, which may well have arrived. 

With a champion like Ashwin having been under-utilized and Jadeja out of action, the time he had to patiently wait for may have arrived. And with it, the opportunity to establish himself within the Indian dressing room. With a successful outing, and fate willing the Cup, Axar may finally experience the flourish that his promising talent holds.

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