Axar Patel is not an alternative spinner India should be looking for: Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar said that 21-year-old Axar Patel was "not the next big thing of Indian cricket".

By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: July 23, 2015 6:33 pm
Axar Patel, India cricket team, Team India, India squad, India squad for Sri Lanka, India Sri Lanka squad, Ind vs SL, SL vs Ind, Cricket News, Cricket Axar Patel has played 18 ODIs and two T20 Internationals after making his international debut last year. (Source: File)

In a stinging criticism, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said that young left-arm spinner Axar Patel was not Test cricket material and was at best “a roller of the ball” who was very much predictable.

Gavaskar said that 21-year-old spinner was “not the next big thing of Indian cricket” and could not be considered as a specialist spinner in Test cricket because he does not turn the ball.

“No, Axar Patel is not an alternative spinner India should be looking for. He just rolls the ball, he does not have the flight and his deliveries are very much predictable. He does not turn the ball unless the pitch is favourable. He is slightly slower than medium pace,” Gavaskar said when asked whether the youngster could be a potential Test spinner who can do well for the country.

“Yes, Ashwin, Harbhajan, Amit Mishra and Karn Sharma are the spinners India can look for but certainly not Axar Patel,” Gavaskar told NDTV as he analysed India’s Test team for the tour of Sri Lanka.

Patel has played 18 ODIs and two T20 Internationals after making his international debut last year. He has so far taken 23 wickets in his 18 ODIs for an average of 26.60 and economy rate of 4.59. He took two wickets from as many matches in the ODI series against Bangladesh last month and five scalps in three games in the just-concluded ODI games in Zimbabwe.

The former captain rued that India has not produced many quality bowlers in the last few years and he partly blamed the pitches offered in the Ranji Trophy for this.

“For the past few years, we have struggled to find quality spinners. One reason could be the kind of pitches we are offering for Ranji Trophy matches. We leave a lot of grass on these Ranji pitches and that does not help quality spinners come through,” he said.

“We need to make these pitches level playing for both bat and ball. There may be grass but not a lot of grass. Early in the game, the spinners should be able to use their flight and drop the flight on the second and third days. We should prepare pitches like this,” he added.

Gavaskar described Test captain Virat Kohli’s decision to play a India ‘A’ match in Chennai ahead of the Sri Lanka series next month as a right one.

“It’s a very good call on the part of Virat. He has not played much cricket in the last 2-3 weeks. His form was also not that good in Bangladesh for his standard. If he scores big in India ‘A’ match, he can go with confidence in Sri Lanka,” said Gavaskar.

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  1. S
    Jul 24, 2015 at 3:09 pm
    No wonder Sunil Gavaskar is not in the selection panel of BCCI. Where was the need for him to criticise Axar Patel whose bowling carrier is yet to mature and he has to learn a lot also?
    1. N
      Jul 24, 2015 at 11:54 am
      His comment welcoming Virat Kohli's desire to play India "A" match is typical of the man. Selfish to the core applauding a likewise proposition. If Kohli desired to practice, he should have gone to Zimbabwe and not try to take the place of an aspiring cricketer. In fact, the likes of Rahul. Pujara, Yadav, Aaron and Amit Mishra who have made the cut to Sri Lanka should be relieved from India "A" duties from next match and their places given to other aspiring cricketers. That is the purpose of the "A" team programme
      1. Swaranjeet Singh
        Jul 25, 2015 at 6:35 am
        Sunil Gavaskar is enled to his opinions and it is perfectly okay for a former great to comment on current players but two things wrinkle in this . . . Firstly it is the vehemence and the very strong words used by Gavaskar. If he had just compared Axar with another contender and said he did not think Axar was the better choice it would have been okay but to come out with a statement that virtually condemns the young spinner as unsuitable for the Indian team is a bit too harsh. The second and even more surprising aspect is that Gavaskar is better known for glossing over the deficiencies of players rather than speak out like this. His defence of "Sir" (never was this more undeserved even in jest) Ravinder Jadeja or when Harbhajan was clearly not performing anywhere close to international standards towards the latter part of his career. The same applies to his defines of Dhoni's wicket-keeping abilities. Mr Sunil Gavaskar clearly has favourites and Axar Patel, irrespective of his true merits, is certainly not one of them.
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