London [UK], May 31 (ANI): Indian all-rounder Axar Patel revealed on Wednesday that the members of the Team India squad for the ICC World Test Championship final against Australia had started preparing for the big match during the Indian Premier League (IPL) itself as the players held practice sessions with red-ball.
Axar discussed India's preparations for the ICC World Test Championship Final on June 7 as well as the difficulty of adapting to changes in formats and conditions.
Several members of India's squad have already arrived in England and begun preparing for the big finale at the picturesque Arundel Cricket Club. While they were able to catch a peek of the thrilling IPL 2023 final between Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Gujarat Titans (GT), Axar Patel, who was among the training group, revealed that their preparations for the WTC match against Australia were progressing well.
Axar said that the preparations had started during the IPL season itself, where they had been practising with the red ball. The changeover between formats in a short period of time comes with its hurdles.
"We knew about this before the start of IPL," Axar told the ICC during a break at the practice session.
"So even during the IPL, it was discussed that we will bowl with the red ball. We had red balls, so we were using them. You know when and how to play, how much time you have. This mental switch from white ball to red ball is obviously tough, but we have enough time. Those who did not qualify [for IPL Playoffs] got more time. So I do not think there will be many problems because we have had a good time to prepare," added the all-rounder.
The WTC Final will use the Dukes ball, which is used in English settings, while India plays their red-ball matches at home with the SG ball. Axar claimed that while they were practising with the Dukes ball during the IPL, the main objective was always to hit in the proper place.
"The difference is the Dukes ball remains shinier for longer. But during the IPL, we had ordered the ball, so were practising with it and have gotten used to it. As I said, we switch from white ball to red ball. It is a similar switch to go from SG to Dukes, you have to use your talent and skill. You have to execute your plan, your bowling rhythm. Irrespective of the ball, if you bowl a good ball at a good spot, it works," Axar said.
"So that is what we are doing. Since the match is in England, which is different from India, we are planning what lines and lengths will work here. The same thing in practice, we are good to go," added the all-rounder.
In addition to the abrupt format shift, adjusting to England's comparatively temperate weather after the oppressive heat of the Indian summer presents another difficulty.
"We came after playing IPL, where it was 40-45 degrees in India. After that, it feels great here. We have taken out our winter clothes and are roaming around wearing jumpers. It is also a bit windy. Whenever we come to the UK, we enjoy the weather. It remains a little cool, there is no heat."Axar is content to leave the bowling coach Paras Mhambrey in charge of finalising the arrangements for bowling, but neither he nor the team are concerned about the stark contrast in the environment.
"Obviously, the conditions in India and England are different. The fast bowlers have more of a role here. In India, spinners play a more important role. The conditions are the same for both teams. In England, the wind assists swing bowling and offers good bounce if you bowl at the right spots. The team is getting together slowly, so the planning will go on. We will leave the planning to our bowling coach," concluded Axar.
Axar was one of Delhi Capitals' standout performers in the 2023 IPL, which saw them finish at the bottom. He scored 283 runs in 13 innings at an average of 28.30 and a strike rate of 139.40, with one fifty. He also took 11 wickets, with best figures of 2/13. (ANI)