Axar Patel: India’s Third Musketeer
In the November 2019 issue of The Teenager Today, many cricket fans would have been surprised at my statistical revelation that Ravindra Jadeja was India’s greatest all-rounder of all time. At that time, his all-rounder’s average (batting average divided by the bowling average) of 1.37 was the best-ever by an Indian cricketer and the sixth best in the world. Since then, Jadeja has fared even better to take that average to 1.51 and displace South Africa’s Shaun Pollock at the all-time fifth place in the world.
On the other hand, since then Ravichandran Ashwin’s all-rounder’s average has slipped by a fraction from 1.16 to 1.13. However, rising up the Test arena is now a third all-rounder for India in the shape of Axar Rajeshbhai Patel, and what may surprise every reader is that in a short Test career of just 11 Tests, Axar has an all-rounder’s average of 2.07 which is far better than any of the best-known in the world; Gary Sobers (1.70), Jacques Kallis (1.65), Imran Khan (1.65) and Keith Miller (1.61).
What is more remarkable about Axar’s achievement is that after the end of eight Test matches in which he represented India, his all-rounder’s average stood at 1.58. However, Axar’s phenomenal rise has come in the last three Test matches against Australia in which he played till the time of this article going to the press. In fact, in the third Test match of the series where most of the Indian batsmen fell cheaply to the Australian spinners, Axar showed the batting technique required to tackle the Australian attack; mixing defence with aggression, he kept the Australian spinner at bay to remain unconquered.
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Gp Capt Achchyut Kumar has been associated with The Teenager Today for more than 50 years; initially as a reader and later as a contributor on varied topics. Having worked in the Indian Air Force and in India’s oldest company, Forbes & Company Limited, he is now practising as a lawyer in Nainital High Court.