Axar’s high-spirited response over ‘competition’. Axar Patel picked up two wickets while conceding only 23 runs during the first T20I of the series against Afghanistan.

Team India’s star all-rounder Axar Patel produced a brilliant show with the ball during the first T20I against Afghanistan on Thursday. Under chilling conditions in Mohali’s winter, Axar braved the dew and difficulties in gripping the ball to register impressive figures of 2/23 in four overs, helping India restrict Afghanistan to 158/5 in 20 overs. Thanks to his brilliant spell, the hosts recorded a convincing six-wicket win to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

India is left with only two more T20Is before the upcoming World Cup in the West Indies and the USA. The side will embark on a five-Test series against England later this month before the Indian Premier League, which will be vital in deciding the T20I squad for the global tournament.

Axar, forced to miss last year’s ODI World Cup with an injury, is conscious that numerous contenders will be vying for his spot in the Indian squad.

Axar's high-spirited response over 'competition'
Axar’s high-spirited response over ‘competition’

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Axar Patel’s Competitive Mindset

“I think, see, I don’t think like that. Obviously, there is competition. But it depends on how you see it. You can’t control the result, but you can give your 100 percent and focus on your process. You can’t put yourself under pressure by thinking about the World Cup right now. You have seen my record… I can do anything! (smiles)” Axar said in the post-match press conference after the win over Afghanistan.

“My focus is on the next two matches right now. There’s IPL (in T20s) after that. In between, there is a five-Test series. It’s still long before the World Cup,” Axar said further.

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Bowler’s Effective Strategy Against Batsmen

The 29-year-old was also delighted to see his efforts at the NCA paying off in the series against Australia and the first game against the Afghans.

“I was not trying to be overtly aggressive on this (Mohali) pitch and batsmen took some chances against me, which also worked for me. I was trying to mix my deliveries up like slower balls etc.

“It also worked for me in the series against Australia, and I have carried that confidence into this series. I am looking at putting more pressure on the batsmen,” said the Gujarat bowler.

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