Axar Patel, who conceded just 8 runs off his Super Over versus SRH, revealed that Avesh Khan was the side’s Plan A, but the Capitals took a last-minute decision to bowl a spinner on a wicket that was tacky. Axar revealed that it was him who pitched the idea to Pant, who then finalized the decision.
No one quite knew who Delhi Capitals would throw the ball to in the Super Over on Sunday, but eyebrows were raised when Axar Patel took his mark to deliver the over. With David Warner, a left-hander, at the crease, many feared that the unfavorable match-up would cost DC the game, but what instead transpired was a masterclass on how to bowl in the Super Over, by Axar. The left-armer conceded a solitary boundary off the six balls he bowled and kept the score under 10, which was always going to be extremely difficult for the Sunrisers to defend.
Interestingly, post the game, Axar revealed that it was initially Avesh Khan who was nominated to bowl the over. The left-armer revealed that it was only in the last moment that the captain and the coaching staff decided to throw him the ball after he explained skipper Rishabh Pant why spin might be trickier to negate on the sticky Chennai wicket.
"When I was in the dressing room, I was thinking that on this wicket, a spinner would be pretty effective. When I came out of the dressing room, the coach and everyone were talking. The initial thought was to go with a fast bowler - Avesh Khan - because they would send a left-right combination,” Axar said in the press conference post the game.
"After that, when we were just stepping onto the ground, I thought a spinner would be more effective. So I told Rishabh that I could also bowl the over. Then he spoke to Ricky [Ponting], and it was decided at the last moment that I would bowl."
Sunday’s clash was, incidentally, Axar’s first game of the season as he’d missed each of the first four encounters after contracting Covid-19 days before the commencement of the tournament. Despite that, the 27-year-old showed no rust and picked it up from right where he left, and according to him it was the confidence he’d garnered during the England series that helped him thrive in Sunday’s clash.
"Even before Covid I was bowling well, in Test matches, and then I bowled in the T20Is too. So, I was carrying the same confidence. I wasn't thinking much that I have had Covid. After recovering from Covid, if I still keep thinking about it that I lost 20 days…obviously it was frustrating but I wasn't thinking much about it.”
Stringent protocols meant that Axar spent no less than three weeks in isolation, completely restricted from any kind of intense physical activity. The 27-year-old revealed that it was his Delhi teammates, through voice and video calls, that kept him in good spirits and ensured that he was mentally ready to play as soon as he recovered.
"When I was in quarantine, the team-mates used to have a chat with me over calls, so I was thinking only the positive stuff that I would regain my rhythm and won't think much about how I would do, or if my bowling or batting would be affected. So, I followed the basics, spent some time in the nets, and found the rhythm I wanted in those four days. After that, I was both mentally and physically ready."