Axar Patel has lauded the Indian skipper Virat Kohli on the decisions that he makes in times of trouble. Patel feels that Kohli has placed his faith on the spinner which boosts the confidence of the bowlers but the all-rounder has made it clear that he does not consider himself as a substitute of Ravindra Jadeja in the limited overs format and will "automatically" get selected if he is doing well. The slow left-arm orthodox bowler, who has been preferred over seasoned Ravindra Jadeja has played 8 ODIs since August has taken 10 wickets and more importantly has been economical in most of the games. Axar played an instrumental role in the first T20I match by collecting two wickets with an economy rate of 5.00.
"I have got a place in the team and that's why I am playing. I am of the view that if I do well in one game, I will automatically be picked in the next match," Patel told reporters at the pre-match conference.
New Zealand hammered India in the first ODI series of the three-match series, as Tom Latham and Ross Taylor's continuous sweep shots against Kuldeep Yadav made the team make a crucial decision of changing their tactics of the format. The men in blue decided to bring in Axar which changed the strategies of the Kiwis and worked in favour of India.
"They played the sweep (shot) well in the first game. We knew that against spinners that was the strategy they will adopt and we formalised our strategy as per that by changing the angle by bowling over and round the wicket (in turns)," said Patel, who plays for Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy.
Patel said that skipper Virat Kohli has given him the freedom and confidence to bowl as he wants to.
"The captain backs you when you do well. I have been playing from the second ODI. He gives me the freedom to bowl what I want to. He leaves it to on us (him and Chahal) to decide on what to do. He says if that plan doesn't succeed even then I will back you, which gives us confidence to bowl with a free mind," said the lanky left-arm orthodox, who had splendid figures of 2 for 20 in four overs in the first T20 International in Delhi.
Chief coach Ravi Shastri was also a left-arm spinner but his advice to Patel has been more on the mental aspects of the game.
"He knows my bowling style is different from his. He always says "you know how to bowl and that's why you are in the team and you continue to do that". He says all that are mindgames, how to handle situations under pressure. He gives me small tips."
He has always been assigned a specific role by the team management -- to contain runs and he has done that with a fair amount of success.
"My role is the same. The wrist spinner (Yuzvendra Chahal in this case) gets turn on most wickets and his role is to attack more and try to take wickets in middle overs. Finger spinner's aim is to contain from one end. If the pressure is put from both ends, there are more chances of getting the wickets," said Patel.
While he plays Ranji Trophy for Gujarat and IPL for Kings XI Punjab, the Rajkot Stadium (Saurashtra's home ground) has been like a second home for him.
"Obviously, it's my home ground and I have some idea about how the wicket will behave from my experience playing IPL over here. There is not much turn on offer but it's skiddy and there's some bounce. I know how to bowl here," he added.
(With PTI Inputs).