India spinner Axar Patel has admitted that he was upset after missing out on the ODI World Cup at home due to an injury and it took him about a week to get over the disappointment and focus on recovery.
The 29-year-old was part of the Indian team in the run-up to the World Cup but a left quadricep injury during the Asia Cup forced him out, with Ravichandran Ashwin replacing him in the 15-member squad.
"Obviously, you are bound to be (disappointed). The World Cup was in India, but that injury happened. For the first few days, I was thinking about it, not being able to play due to injury," Axar told reporters during the post-match press conference.
"But, the team was doing well, so after 5-10 days, I was back to training and was doing my rehab. But, yes, when you are out due to injury and those 5-10 days you are not able to do anything, you do feel a bit bad. After that, I returned to routine life.
"I was upset, but it happened due to an injury; it's not in anyone's hands. It's part and parcel of the game."
Axar made an impressive return to international cricket, claiming five wickets in the series so far with his three-wicket haul setting up the 20-run win for India in the fourth T20I in Raipur on Friday.
"If you are away from international cricket for some time due to injury and then come back, you try to prove yourself and you also have to look after your body, so I also took one match (at a time)," he said.
"When you come from injury you try to keep that part of the body safe. You are not able to give your full effort. It stays in the back of my mind.
"It doesn't happen in that way because the trainer already tells you that nothing will happen but while sprinting, you feel what if something happens again to the quadricep.
"But the first couple of matches, I was back to routine. Now I don't feel anything like that and the work that I put in the last one-and-a-half months, I am reaping the reward now, so I am happy overall."
India's T20 World Cup preparation begins now
After missing the ODI World Cup, Axar is eager to be part of the T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in the USA and West Indies in June next year and said the preparation for the same has already begun.
"Before the T20 World Cup, I don't think India has a lot of T20 games scheduled, maybe 9-10 matches. So, we have to plan from now and prepare as there is the World Cup in June and then there is IPL in between, so the planning is going on," he said.
"All the players have been told about their respective roles, in what position they will play and once Rahul (Dravid) sir is back, there will be a detailed discussion but we know what we have to do in this series, so there is no confusion."
Axar, who has taken 44 wickets in 49 T20Is, was omitted from the T20I squad for the upcoming South Africa tour with Ravindra Jadeja replacing him.
Asked if he was fired up due to the snub, Axar said, "It is not like that, if I would have gone for runs then you would have said that I was upset. I was normal.
"...there was nothing in my mind that I have to prove myself for that. I have been doing well and this is not my decision and I didn't think much about that. I am just happy I got wickets today."
Axar dismissed World Cup hero Travis Head, Ben McDermott and Aaron Hardie as India limited Australia to 154 for 7 while chasing the hosts' total of 174 for 9 in the fourth T20I.
"I didn't change my bowling much. There was dew in the last three matches, so we were bowling back of length but there was no dew today, so we could give the ball flight as the seam was not too wet," he said.
"There was grass on the pitch, so some balls were skidding, so they were facing difficulties. I have also been varying my pace for the last three matches, sometimes going for a few slower ones in between."
Partnership with Ravi Bishnoi
Axar formed a formidable left-right spin combination with young Ravi Bishnoi, who produced figures of 4-0-17-1.
"Throughout the series he has been bowling well. His speed has been troubling the Australians, especially his googly and he has been working on his leg spin."