Harshal, Axar involve in fun banter after India clean sweeps New Zealand

Harshal Patel

India spinner Axar Patel and medium-pacer Harshal Patel were involved in a fun banter after India clean swept New Zealand 3-0 in the recently-concluded T20I series that marked the start of the Rohit-Dravid era.

After securing victories while chasing in Jaipur and Ranchi, India went to Kolkata with an unassailable 2-0 lead, which they extended to 3-0 with a comprehensive 73-run win. In the process, India also became the first team to clean sweep New Zealand in a bilateral T20I series both home and away. The team, under Virat Kohli, handed a 5-0 defeat to the Kiwis in early 2020 in their den, including two victories in Super Overs.

Both the Patels, meanwhile, had a role to play in India’s triumph at Kolkata as Axar returned with a Player of the Match three-for, all coming inside the powerplay, whereas Harshal claimed 2/26 after a brisk cameo (18 off 12) earlier, which helped India push their total to 184/7. The target proved comfortably beyond the visitors’ reach, as they failed to string any partnership of substance on a rather forgettable day at the office.

“It was an exceptional feeling. I mean, I didn’t expect the debut match to go this well because all my debuts before today have never been this good. But I executed my skills well and the result was also in our favor and we ended up winning the game. I don’t know, we haven’t decided it but it seems like the Player of the Match will stay between us Patels!”, Harshal said in response to Axar’s query regarding his match-winning performance in a BCCI-posted video.

“The change for me has mainly been in the mindset. I had all these skills before as well. The mindset change in the last two years has got me the results. And whatever I did in the IPL, I had decided to carry the same mindset in this series. Those things are working for me and I am very happy about it,” Harshal revealed what has led to a turnaround in his game.

Both teams will take part in the two-Test series (a part of the 2021-23 ICC World Test Championship cycle), which gets underway at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium from November 25, followed by the second Test at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium from December 3.