All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja's presence in the Test set-up made it 'very hard' for any left-spinner to break into the Indian squad, said Axar Patel on his meteoric rise in recent months.
Axar, who made his debut in the traditional format during Jadeja's thumb injury hiatus, finished with 27 wickets from three Tests against England. India steamrolled England 3-1 in the four-Test series as Axar seized the occasion with aplomb.
Having made a great start with the red ball, the 27-year-old also earned a place in the WTC final and subsequent five-Test series against England. In a recent interview, Axar highlighted the cut-throat competition in the Indian team that made it difficult for him to find a place in the Playing XI.
“I don’t feel I was lacking anything. Unfortunately, I was injured and lost my place in the ODIs. In Tests, [Ravindra] Jadeja and [Ravichandran] Ashwin were doing well. The way Jadeja was performing, it was very hard for any other left-arm spin all-rounder to find a place.
"The wrist spinners – Kuldeep (Yadav) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal – were doing well. It was due to the team combination that I was out. When I got a chance, I just tried to prove myself," Axar told Indian Express.
Axar further also talked about getting 'frustrated' from not getting opportunities but weighed in on being patient until an opportunity arrives.
"I don’t get easily frustrated. I was part of the India A side and was in the scheme of things. It was about grabbing my chances. There were days when I did get frustrated; I was doing well but was not finding a place.
"But there are many players who are performing in domestic cricket but can’t get a break because the players in the Indian team are performing well. It is important to wait for your time and when a chance comes, just grab it," said the left-arm tweaker.
The Gujarat all-rounder also spoke highly of his Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant, mentioning that the left-handed dasher maintains a 'lively atmosphere' in the team. Axar also tagged Pant as one of his 'closest friends'.
"I have a great tuning with him, we are part of the same team in the IPL. He is one of my closest friends. He maintains that lively atmosphere in the team. He will crack jokes, even from behind the wicket.
"Sometimes in a five-day game if there is a partnership, it’s very tough to kill that time. It’s his role that if he feels that the atmosphere is getting dull, he will crack some jokes, he will pass on comments. It suits him," he said.