‘The only request I had from him was more contribution from his batting’: Hardik Pandya on Axar Patel

From a 2-1 series win against Sri Lanka in the T20Is as India shifted focus to the 50-over format, Hardik Pandya switched the captaincy cap with the vice-captain one.

Ahead of the second ODI between Sri Lanka and India at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the T20 skipper Hardik Pandya revealed how all-rounder Axar Patel’s contribution has been helping team India lately.

Speaking on Axar’s utility as a batter and how it makes his job easier, Hardik said, “He has worked tremendously well, helps my life knowing Axar is after me, helps the team play a certain balance.”

“He’s upped his game massively in the recent past, makes the team feel more confident. It has made a big difference, the only request I had from him was more contribution from his batting,” Pandya added.

In the first T20I, Axar had scored 31 runs off 20 balls to add 68 runs for the sixth wicket alongside Deepak Hooda. In the next game, he registered 65 runs off 31 deliveries, almost pulling off a 200 plus chase for India.

The southpaw helped India claim a two-run win in the first T20 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Sri Lanka required 13 to win off the last six balls, there were quite a few raised eyebrows as India captain Hardik Pandya asked Axar Patel to bowl the last over of the first T20I at Wankhede Stadium.

Speaking about the same, Hardik said, “We might lose a game here and there but it’s alright.”

“I want to put this team in difficult situations because it will help us in big games. Bilaterals we are very good at and this is how we are going to challenge ourselves. To be honest, all the young guns got us out of the situation today.”

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