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Why Axar Patel Was Selected

Why two left-arm spinners? Why not a right-hand off-spinner… was the question raised by the cricket fan and even some experts when the team was announced. The team’s think tank had convinced the national selection committee that though Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel are like spinners, the wiry Patel was sort of a most valuable player with splendid skills in bowling, batting and fielding and that he had to be on board. Patel was India’s best left-arm spinner in the two years, starting from 2022, and no way was he not going to be travelling to the USA and West Indies for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah and Kuldeep Yadav may have bagged plenty of wickets, but Patel has quietly chipped in with eight scalps at 15.50 and with a strike rate of a wicket for every two point some overs. He has played the supporting cast role exceptionally well; it was his three strikes against England that, in a way, paved the way for India to call the shots after posting 171 on the board in the semi-final. The Nadiad-born Patel converted a miraculous catch of Australian captain Mitchell Marsh: his spectacular effort in the deep just about demonstrated his commitment to the game. An injury suffered during the Asia Cup last September kept him out of the World Cup in India. The decision-makers kept faith in him, and the results are there. Patel has been the cynosure of all eyes in the Twenty20 tournament. He has sent down 108 balls for eight wickets as against Jadeja’s 78 balls for one wicket.