Family

‘One of the greatest cricketing days of my life’: Black Cap Ajaz Patel on stunning 10-wicket haul


Ajaz Patel stared at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium honours board at the end of the first day’s play and longed to join the distinguished five-wicket-bag club in the city of his birth.

Never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined the fashion in which his name would then be added to that prestigious list less than 24 hours later.

“It’s one of the greatest cricketing days of my life, and I think it probably always be,” was how the Black Caps spinner was able to put into words his amazing achievement of becoming just the third player in test history to claim 10 wickets in an innings.

Ajaz Patel celebrates his stunning achievement of taking 10 wickets in a test innings.

Saikat Das/Sportzpics for BCCI

Ajaz Patel celebrates his stunning achievement of taking 10 wickets in a test innings.

“To be able to come back home to Mumbai and to Wankhede and to be able to produce something like that is quite special, and I’m grateful to God that he’s blessed me with this occasion in my cricketing journey. So it’s really, really special for me.”

READ MORE:
* Black Caps make lowest total since 2013, wasting Ajaz Patel’s 10-wicket haul
* Black Cap Ajaz Patel becomes third bowler in history of tests to take all 10 wickets
* “Welcome to the club’: Anil Kumble congratulates Ajaz Patel for joining exclusive group

Starting the second day of the second test against India with four wickets to his name, the left-armer went on to do the unthinkable and dismiss the entire opposition on his own, claiming 10-119 off 47.5 overs to write himself into the international cricket record books.

“I knew leaving here last night there was still work to do, and I really, really wanted to get my name on the honours board,” said Patel, who lived in Mumbai till age eight before his family emigrated to New Zealand.

Black Caps spinner Ajaz Patel had been eyeing up the honours board at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai at the end of the first day’s play.

NZ CRICKET/Supplied

Black Caps spinner Ajaz Patel had been eyeing up the honours board at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai at the end of the first day’s play.

“I had no expectation of it going up in this fashion. So it is very special and pretty cool. One of the first things that I said when I got off was that my name’s definitely going to be on the honours board now.

“It is a special moment, I’m not going to like about that, it’s brilliant for me, not only me but my family, my mum and dad and all their support and my wife and all her support. It’s never easy being a cricketer, you spend a lot of time away from home.

“I’ve got a lot of messages to probably try and get through, but I might leave them for quarantine when I get back home.”

Patel joined England’s Jim Laker (10-53 against Australia in Manchester in 1956) and India’s Anil Kumble (10-74 against Pakistan in Delhi in 1999) as the only players to have achieved the perfect 10, in what is the 2438th match in test cricket’s 144-year history.

“I guess to be in such illustrious groupings is very, very special,” said Patel, who had watched the highlights of Kumble’s achievement “plenty of times” and then soaked in a spine-tingling message from the great leg-spinner, who welcomed him to “the club” on Twitter and also congratulated him when speaking to the match’s host broadcaster, Star Sports.

“It was really, really cool to see his message and to hear his kind words, and I’m very, very humbled and very, very fortunate to be in such fine company,” Patel said.

Ajaz Patel joined Jim Laker and Anil Kumble as the only players to have taken the perfect 10 wickets in an international innings.

Rafiq Maqbool/AP

Ajaz Patel joined Jim Laker and Anil Kumble as the only players to have taken the perfect 10 wickets in an international innings.

Patel, 33, who is playing in just his 11th test, said that even as he was closing in on the remarkable he would have gladly had others take a wicket if it meant getting off the park quicker, and he hadn’t heard any chat of bowling wide of the stumps at the other end.

But he did admit that he was more nervous after his ninth wicket than he had been throughout any of the game prior.

In the end, it was just three balls later that Patel completed the 10-for, when he had No 11 Mohammed Siraj slogging high in the air for Rachin Ravindra to eventually pouch the most crucial of catches. Only after plenty of anxious moments passed with the ball in the air.

“Yeah it was nervous times, obviously we still back Rachin to be under that, but I saw the ball wobble as it was coming down and I was a little bit nervous for a second,” Patel said.

“Knowing that you’re going to achieve something special was quite unbelievable, and I’m just ecstatic that I got to do it in Mumbai.”

And, indeed, with such a feat in front of a huge Indian audience, could that potentially pave the way for the riches of an IPL contract?

“Oh, I’d be very lucky,” he said.

Ajaz Patel bows after dismissing Ravichandran Ashwin for a golden duck.

Rafiq Maqbool/AP

Ajaz Patel bows after dismissing Ravichandran Ashwin for a golden duck.

“But for me right now playing for New Zealand is the most important thing, I’ve got a test match to worry about.

“I tend not to look at too many things too far ahead, I try and stay in the present as much as possible. And I guess that really helps me control what’s in front of me. That’s what’s worked up till now and that’s what I’m going to continue doing. So whatever happens later on, we can worry about when it happens.”

For now, it’s the reality of a massive mountain for his team to climb, after what turned into a bittersweet kind of day, with the Black Caps crumbling for just 62 in their first innings – No 11 Patel the only man not dismissed in what was New Zealand’s sixth-lowest test innings of all time, the lowest by any side in India and also the lowest against India.

“I guess after I came off the field things happened pretty quickly,” Patel said of an achievement he felt wouldn’t really sink in till later.

“I guess that’s the beauty of test cricket, isn’t it, and that’s what makes test cricket so exciting. Things can flip, and it really takes one session to change a match.

“We’ve got to make sure we front up tomorrow and try and scrap as much as we can. We know we’re on the back foot but we’re going to come out here tomorrow and make sure we work as hard as possible to try and see how we can turn this game around, or even eke out something special.”



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.