Irfan Pathan backs the Indian bowler who could trouble Australia in BGT 2023

India are set to host Australia for a four-match Test series, which is set to commence on February 9 in Nagpur.

Rohit Kumar
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Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan (Source: Twitter)

Team India is set to host Australia for a four-match Test series starting on February 9. India, under the leadership of captain Rohit Sharma, have started their practice sessions in Nagpur. The Indian team will look to book their place in the Test Championship, which can be sealed if they win the series. However, Australia were unable to win a Test series in India since 2004.

This time, the Aussies will be hoping to win the series with the firepower of the likes of Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne, who are in great form. It’s a no-brainer how much Smith loves to play against India. Smith has scored 1,742 runs against India in 14 Test matches at an average of 76.58. Given his record and tremendous form, Smith will be one of the most prized wickets in the upcoming series. Now, Former Indian allrounder Irfan Pathan has given his ideas to counter Smith.

Cricketer turned commentator has picked allrounder Axar Patel as India’s go-to bowler against Smith. While speaking on the ‘Start Sports’ show ‘Game Plan’ Pathan was quizzed about the threats for India in the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Pathan accepted Smith as the biggest threat.

Asserting his opinion Pathan said, "Smith is an Australian legend. If you look at Australian history as well, he is up there. He has troubled the Indian bowlers a lot and scored tons of runs. Even though you know that he has got a really solid bottom hand, but still he finds ways to score runs in front of the wickets, on the off and leg side. We need to have a proper plan.”

Axar Patel will trouble Steven Smith: Irfan Pathan

Elaborating his game plan against Smith, Pathan said, "The challenge of Steve Smith will be there for Indian cricket but I think one guy, which I have a great feeling, who can have the numbers against him is Axar Patel. If he plays regularly all the matches, the kind of trajectory he has, he can be a big threat to him," said Pathan.

"The line and length he bowls, the straight ball he bowls, he can bring the lbw or bowled into play against Steve Smith, especially because he uses his bottom hand a lot. A bowler who continuously bowls at the stumps can prove to be an alarm bell against such a player, that is Axar Patel," he added.

Axar made his debut against England in 2021. In his first match at Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad Patel took 11 wickets in the match. Since his debut, he has clinched 47 wickets in eight matches at an average of 14.6. He has also picked five 5-wicket hauls in his brief career.  

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