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Kohli lauds Axar Patel for all-round show


Ranchi: Impressed with rookie Axar Patel’s all-round performance, India’s stand-in skipper Virat Kohli has hinted that the left-arm spinner could be preferred in the side for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Patel’s emergence as an all-rounder in the just-concluded ODI series against Sri Lanka means that Ravichandran Ashwin is no more an automatic choice for the only spinner’s slot.

“Hopefully if he (Patel) keeps performing like that and shows his composure, he will probably be preferred over a couple of other people in the batting order. You never know when that change arrives. All I can say is I’m happy for him. Wish him all the luck hopefully we’ll see him up the order in the upcoming series,” Kohli told reporters here after the 5-0 thrashing of Sri Lanka.

With 11 wickets from five matches, the Gujarat spinner became the leading wicket-taker in the series eclipsing pace spearhead Umesh Yadav who was rested for the final ODI here.

Lavishing praise on him, Kohli said: “He’s very confident. Even when I’m going to keep seven in the ring he never says no. He’s always confident that he can still bowl to the field settings and come out on top and hold the batsman back,” he said.

“He’s not scared which is the most important thing. He knows how to cramp them for room to hit big shots. He’s a very composed guy, a self-assured individual and at such a young age, he has so much self belief expressing himself completely,” added Kohli.

“The moment you have a bit of hesitation that’s when things start to go wrong but I don’t see anything with that with Axar.”


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