Honestly speaking, if someone would call Virat Kohli or any in the trinity comprising him, KL Rahul, who’s currently out injured or the new T20I captain, Rohit Sharma, as the face of the Indian cricket team then it would make perfect sense.
Only one among this famous troika of Indian cricket is young and still growing in his craft for the other two, the other dangerous two have peaked big time already. And there’s little doubt about that. But then, in this mix when you get to hear about names such as Axar Patel and what he may have done to be called the face of Team India, at least, as far as 2021, then the face of Tests, then you may be a tad bit surprised.
Can we be frank in accepting it? Well, course!
But hey, that’s exactly where you are wrong. You really are.
Maybe, you don’t have your facts on Axar Patel. For a cricketer who became a mainstream appearance in the sport ever since the 2013 IPL season, where he got his break in Mumbai Indians, it’s surprising and glad at the same time that Axar Patel is playing Test cricket and lest it is forgotten, only now. It’s that format of the game where the thinly-built Indian cricketer just took yet another fifer, this time versus Kane Williamson’s New Zealand.
You do feel sad for Axar Patel in that despite being around for a good eight years, it is now that Patel has started featuring as a spinner wearing Indian Test whites. What’s glad about it, at the same time, however, is that finally, the quiet guy of Indian cricket is getting his chance. Is he not?
After disrupting England, a team with Joe Root at the helm of the affairs, having made their life very difficult earlier in 2021, Axar Patel is here and he’s bossing it against the Kiwis.
The birds may be here from New Zealand, but we know who is flying for real- don’t we? It’s that lad from Anand, in Gujarat whose bowling brings such joy to the country.
The following is how Axar Patel- an ever unassuming cricketer became the darling of social media after his fifer rocked New Zealand, the visitors perhaps suffering at the back of Kane Williamson missing out.
Fifth 5-wicket haul in 4 matches for Axar Patel. He’s deadly on such pitches. NZ paying price for batsmen being ultra-cautious. Not showing enterprise or gumption to hit boundaries and scatter close in field, unable to rotate strike either, allowing bowlers to build up pressure.
“Axar Patel-Test debutant of the year. Without a shadow of doubt. Another 5-fer. #IndvNZ.”
The above was mentioned by Aakash Chopra, popular commentator and someone who happened to have a brief career playing Test match cricket for India in the past.
Stupendous bowling performance from @akshar2026.
That said, the following is how NDTV, popular news platform in India, happened to describe the proceedings on what was honestly a great day for Team India out in the field at the luscious Green Park cricket stadium in UP’s Kanpur:
New Zealand were finally dismissed for 296 runs in their first innings in reply to India’s 345. Apart from Axar, Ravichandran Ashwin bagged three wickets while one wicket was taken each by pacer Umesh Yadav and spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
The joy of an important 49-run lead was short lived as India got off to a bad start in their second innings. Opener Shubman Gill was dismissed by pacer Kyle Jamieson early-on to provide the visitors first breakthrough in their bid to restrict India quickly.