Akshar Patel’s batting has been the biggest revelation for India in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia.
In all likelihood, the spin all-rounder finished the series as India’s second highest run-getter with 264 runs from five innings, including three half-centuries.
While Akshar played crucial knocks of 84 and 74 in the first two Tests in Nagpur and Delhi, he scored 79 in the ongoing match in Ahmedabad.
Speaking after the fourth day’s play at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Akshar Patel revealed the secret of his success with the bat.
“When we started with the camp in Nagpur, we knew we will be playing on turning tracks. I didn’t prepare or plan much but did my own study for playing on spinning tracks,” Akshar told reporters.
Talking about his plans, he said: “I just prepared myself to stand on the leg-stump to keep a check on the possible leg-before and stumping, since these are the two modes of dismissals that can happen on turning tracks. I also planned to not step out much against off-spinners. I was getting myself ready for these things before the series started.”
When asked if he rued missing out on three possible hundreds, Akshar stated: “You have rubbed salt to wounds (laughs). The way I was batting… and I know the chances I have missed don’t come often. Bade run karne the (had to score big).”
“The positive thing is that I batted the way I wanted to and we had a good partnership (with Virat Kohli) when the team needed it. I am thinking about what you said (smiles again) but not thinking too much about it right now. I might feel (bad) about it more when I get back to the room.”
India’s next Test assignment could be the World Test Championship final against Australia at the Oval from June 7-11. In that match, India might just go in with a single spinner and it could be R Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja.
However, Akshar Patel isn’t concerned about it. “What you are saying about me getting the place in XI (for WTC final), it’s not in my hands and I can’t do anything about it. I am performing in the chances I am getting and focus on what’s in my hands. Coach and captain decide the XI and my job is to perform consistently and earn that place in the XI.”
On Day 4 of the Ahmedabad Test, Akshar shared a 162-run stand with Virat Kohli, who played a marathon knock of 186.
“When I was batting with Virat bhai, there wasn’t any specific message from the team. Virat bhai told me to continue playing positively, like I do. Once we got set, bowlers weren’t getting much assistance off the pitch too. Once I got set, I was connecting deliveries which were in my radar.
“Virat bhai was also saying that 50 is now done and I can think big since 22 overs were left in day’s play. There was no message around declaration or playing fast. The way pitch was and he was batting on 150 and I was over 50, so runs were coming in the flow.”
Akshar was unaware whether Kohli was unwell or not during his much-awaited 28th Test century.
Notably, Anushka Sharma's post on Instagram following Virat ton sparked concerns regarding the health of the star batter.
“Playing through sickness with this composure. Inspiring me always…,” Kohli’s wife wrote on her Instagram story.
When enquired about Virat Kohli’s health, Akshar replied: “I don't know (if Kohli was not keeping well). The way he was running, it didn't look like he was sick with the way he built that partnership, in this heat and the way he ran... It was good to have that stand with him.”
(With PTI/ANI Inputs)