India vs England: Virat Kohli gatecrashes Axar-Hardik interview, praises spinner in Gujarati [Watch]
Ahmedabad’s local boys, Axar Patel and Hardik Pandya, got together for a fun interview after India’s memorable 10-wicket win over England in the third Test at the Sardar Patel Stadium on Thursday.
The Test was the first international fixture to take place at the renovated stadium in Ahmedabad and Axar ensured the fans would remember the game for a very long time. Playing his just second Test for India, the left-arm spinner picked 11 wickets as India defeated England inside two days to go 2-1 up in the four-match series. With the loss, England crashed out of the World Test Championship (WTC) 2019-21. For India to qualify for the final, which is scheduled to be held in June at Lord's, Virat Kohli and Co need to win the series, even a draw would make way for Australia to qualify for the final.
Along with Axar, Ravichandran Ashwin also had a terrific outing in the third Test, taking seven wickets, while the Chennai spinner also became the second-fastest bowler to 400 wickets in the longest format. Ashwin, who now has 401 wickets in 77 Tests, was the fourth Indian bowler to enter the 400-club after Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev, and Harbhajan Singh.
Axar, who was named the Player of the Match after the game ended on Day two, credited his family and friends for his success.
Here are the excerpts from Axar-Pandya's interview:
Hardik: For you, it seems Test cricket is very easy, isn't it?
Axar: When everything is going your way, it seems easy but when things are not then you can even miss a full toss. It is all about confidence.
Hardik: As a friend, brother, and teammate, I'm very proud of the way you have played and made a comeback.
Axar: When I was out of the team for 3 years I used to think about where I need to work in my game to come back. Friends started asking questions about my absence from the team. They used to ask 'why are you not in the team even after doing well in the IPL?'. But I knew I would play at the right time and give my 100 per cent.
My family members, friends and you guys kept motivating me all the time. I would give credit to my family and friends for supporting me through the tough times.
Hardik: For Axar, we have been waiting for his debut for a long time. The way he has made it, we feel very proud of him. For me, it has been lots of hard work, patience and genuine which is very important in this sport which I find this guy had it. And one more thing, how did you like playing on your home ground?
Axar: I felt great playing here because this is my second match at Motera. It was great to pick 2 five-wicket hauls in front of my home crowd. It was a special feeling to play in front of my home crowd and feels really nice when they cheer for you.
Hardik: Take another five-wicket haul in the next game
Axar: I will try my best; won't say much till I perform.
Soon after he said that Indian skipper Kohli made a special appearance in the interview and praised Axar while showing off his Gujarati speaking skills. Reacting to this, Hardik said," He is trying to learn a bit Gujarati these days."
The fourth and final Test between India and England will begin on March 4 and will be played at the same venue in Ahmedabad.