“I don’t think any ball hit the helmet” – Axar Patel slams critics of Chennai surface 

Axar Patel

Debutant Axar Patel hit out at critics of the Chennai pitch for the second India-England Test, saying India never complain about green tops when they go abroad.

The left-arm spinner was responding to criticism from some former England cricketers, Michael Vaughan in particular, who termed the Chepauk surface unfit for Test cricket.

Axar Patel was quoted as saying in a PTI report:

“If you are talking about pitch, I don’t think any ball hit the helmet. There is normal spin on offer. We are playing on the same track and scoring runs, so I don’t think anyone should have any problems and feel that wicket is like this or that and so on and so forth.”

The 27-year-old further added in this regard:

“Also when we go overseas, we never complain while playing on the seaming track and complain that there is more grass on the wicket. I think people need to change their mindset rather than thinking about the wicket.”

Even as the debate over the Chennai pitch continued to divide opinion, Ravichandran Ashwin notched up his fifth Test century while Indian skipper Virat Kohli contributed a hard-fought 62.

Speaking about India’s batting performance on the day, Axar Patel explained:

“When we play, we don’t think that the outside world matters to us and we would like to give a message. We played normal cricket. If it was the fourth day, we would have thought about declaring but it was the third day and we had enough time. We thought we had to bat long.”

On how spinners must bowl on the Chennai strip, Axar Patel stated that slow bowlers must hit the deck hard to be effective. He added:

“When you are putting a bit more effort and body into the ball, then you are getting the ball to spin. When you are hitting the deck hard, then only you are getting the ball to turn. If you are releasing it slowly, there is not much help for the slow bowlers. So hitting the deck with a decent speed is important and that’s creating difficulty for batsmen. If you bowl slow, then batsmen are moving to back foot and adjusting.”

Axar Patel also admitted that he has learned a lot from Ashwin, having played with him over the years. He revealed that the two discussed about mindsets and working out various batsmen.

England have been set an improbable 482 to win the second Test. They collapsed to 53 for 3 by the close of play. Joe Root was unbeaten on two, and Dan Lawrence on 19.

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