Axar Patel vs Ravindra Jadeja: Two quality all-rounders vying for one spot
Axar Patel has had quite the start to his test match career, picking up 18 wickets in just 2 test matches. This means that he currently has a wickets-test ratio of 9. A number which is incredibly high and likely to fall by a significant amount in the tests to come. However, Axar Patel only scored 12 runs in two tests and his batting will need to come to the party if he is to emulate Ravindra Jadeja.
So, can he fill the void permanently, in the case of an injury or to help rotation between the two spinners?
Axar Patel showed at both Chennai and Ahmedabad that he has excellent accuracy and can land the ball on a sixpence, similar to his counterpart Ravindra Jadeja.
He hardly bowled a bad ball and made England play at deliveries at the start of their innings, that they would ideally like to leave alone. This means that he can bowl long spells at test match level, particularly if the pitch is not offering as much.
The arm ball
Another plus point that Axar Patel has is his variation. He has a superb arm ball that is very difficult to pick and it bamboozled multiple English batsmen. Ben Foakes, for example, who is a wonderful player of spin, went back to cut.
However, the ball was too close to angling into the stumps and he ended up being bowled. This was a result of not reading the ball correctly and the deception.
It is worth noting that the pink ball did make the arm ball slide on quicker due to the skiddy nature of it, as Joe Root pointed out in the post-match press conference.
Ravindra Jadeja has quite a good record outside of India for a left-arm spinner. This is because this type of bowler is unlikely to get purchase on tracks overseas in the first few days at least. Jadeja averages 22 with the ball in Australia and 26 in South Africa. These numbers are going to be difficult to match for Axar Patel.
Jadeja is likely to be first choice for the long term in overseas tests. Given Ravi Ashwin’s superb performance in Australia, India will probably play him as the second spinner.
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Axar Patel most work on his batting and find a game plan that works well at test match level. He has the ability to do so, as proven by his First Class statistics. He averages nearly 34 with the bat, which means that he should be at least averaging 25 at test level, accounting for the difference in quality.
At Ahmedabad, in the first innings, he played an attacking shot and was caught for 0. However, the situation demanded such a shot and therefore he cannot be blamed. Should Axar’s batting come to fruition, India will have serious depth at test match level.
In the Indian Premier League 2020, Axar Patel out bowled Ravindra Jadeja on pitches that had less for spin bowlers. This means that he could also be an alternate option in ODI’s and T20I’s for India. This would help boost the level of competition. Again, his batting is yet to show quality in limited overs but he has the ability.
Axar last played ODI for India in 2017 and T20I for India in 2018. Clearly, there are a lot of options that he must beat to be selected as first choice. Axar Patel has taken 45 wickets in 38 ODI’s at a bowling average of 31. In T20I’s, he has picked up 9 wickets in 11 matches at a bowling average of 29.
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2021 World T20
India has significant depth in riches in the spin department and in the all-rounders department. Should Axar Patel play with such prowess, it is likely that both he and Ravindra Jadeja will feature at the World T20 in India in 2021. Given that it is a home competition, spin is likely to play a huge part.
Both may not make the starting eleven due to offering similar qualities but for India to win they would like one to push another to perform at their best. India is likely to play a leg spinner in Yuzvendra Chahal and with Ravi Ashwin also vying for a spot again, it could mean that neither make the side.
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