Axar Patel has been in the Indian team since 2014. While playing for India at the highest level has certainly helped him grow, the experience has also benefitted his state team, Gujarat in domestic cricket. He was instrumental in helping his home team win the Vijay Hazare Trophy in the ongoing 2015-16 with some miserly spells.
At a young age, Axar has become one of the key players for Gujarat. As the season enters its last leg, he can look back with satisfaction on how well the team has done especially in the shorter formats of the game.
Axar, who was part of the ODI team against Australia, joined his state team in Kanpur for the Deodhar Trophy immediately on returning from the tour. “Obviously, there is passion, and the more you play, the more you learn. No match is big or small. You get to learn irrespective of whether you win or lose,” he said about his participation. For him, it is important to adjust and play matches in such situations. “It was good for me that I played there (Kanpur) as I got to know what I have to do (to improve and learn),” he says.
There is keenness in Axar to not only perform well, but also learn with each passing game. The spinner continues to work on different aspects of his game as he works his way forward.
This season, Axar has also added some flight to his armoury. He explains that the batsmen observe you and you need to have more tricks in your bag. You need to have a Plan B which will help you break predictability he explains while discussing his bowling. “You cannot bowl only one way. You need to do different things as the batsman sees what you do (and works on negotiating you). I back my strengths — like the armer. But, I also try to flight and beat them with some turn. If the batsman gets to know you bowl one way, what is my Plan B? So, I keep thinking about that Plan B and I want to try different deliveries,” he elaborated.
Armaan Jaffer, Jay Bista shine for Mumbai U-23
Armaan Jaffer, who has been in excellent form this season especially in the longer format of the game, smashed 181 to help Mumbai post a big score against Maharashtra in the Under-23, Col CK Nayudu semi-final on returning from the Under-19 ICC Cricket World Cup.
The young batsman, who had scored three consecutive double-centuries for the Mumbai Under-19s in the Cooch Behar Trophy, 2015-16 had displayed his skills with a couple of good knocks in Bangladesh as well. He had showcased his ability to stay in the middle and guide the innings, while trying to maintain the flow of runs in the matches during the CWC.
On return Armaan followed up the semi-final performance with a 60-run knock in the ongoing final against Madhya Pradesh U-23s as Mumbai posted 577 in the first innings. While there were useful contributions by the line-up to help the team build a formidable total, it was Jay Bista’s double-century that helped them to a mountainous score.
Bista, who had made his debut for Mumbai’s senior side earlier in the season, has led the charge for the Mumbai U-23s. In the quarter-final against Baroda U-23s, Bista smashed 128 as Mumbai chased 279 to win the game. His 217 runs in the final takes his runs tally to over 1000 runs in the tournament at an impressive average. These performances will hold the batsman in good stead as he looks to make his mark in the senior domestic circuit in the coming seasons.