New Delhi: Kings XI Punjab spinner Axar Patel knows he can be predictable after a couple of seasons at the highest level and that is why he will be seen tossing up the odd ball during the upcoming IPL and not rely only on flatter deliveries.
"You expect top batsmen to read you well after two three seasons at this level and that is why I felt the need to add more variety to my bowling. I am tossing up the odd ball in training but it doesn't mean I will only do that. I will continue bowling the flatters ones and try to mix it with the odd flighted ball," Patel told PTI from Mohali where he is training alongside his Kings XI Punjab teammates.
The season starting on April 9 is crucial for Patel, who has been sidelined from the Indian team after the return of senior pro Ravindra Jadeja and another left-arm spinner Pawan Negi getting the selectors' nod over him for the recently concluded World T20.
Though the 22-year-old was part of India's 50-over squad in Australia, he did not get a game and last played for the country in October. But the spinner, who is often criticised for not turning the ball enough, is not perturbed by the selectors' snub.
"This IPL is important not only because I am looking to make an India comeback, it is also important to do well in the tournament. The youngsters get to learn a lot with the fellow players. I had a good break after the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Now the aim is to do well in IPL," said Patel, who is now putting extra effort on his batting to go with his bowling skills.
Does it bother him that he is practically the third left-arm spinner in India behind Negi and Jadeja?
"I don't think like that. Amongst the three of us, whoever does best will get to play for India," said the Anand-born player.
Patel has also put behind the scathing criticism of Sunil Gavaskar, who felt he was at best "a roller of the ball".
"I don't think about that anymore and would not want to comment on it either. My job is to play and right now I am very much focussed on the IPL," said the spinner, who made his India debut in 2014 after an impressive IPL.
The core of the Kings XI Punjab squad remains with the likes of David Miller, George Bailey and Mitchell Johnson being around for sometime. The retired Virender Sehwag remains with the team as a mentor.
Patel is confident that the team will have a better season than 2015 when it finished last.
"The good thing is that the core of the team remains the same. We have been training hard here under our new captain David Miller and hopefully we can have a good season," he added.