Ajaz Patel’s 10 wickets hard to believe, says spinner’s proud father
6 December, 2021, 2:12 pm
The father of Black Caps spinner Ajaz Patel says his son’s ‘unbelievable achievement’ of 10 wickets against India is just rewards for the work he has put into the sport.
The Black Caps are staring at defeat in the second test in Mumbai but it hasn’t taken any shine off the monumental performance of Patel.
He took ten wickets in the first innings and then got another 4 in the second innings making another record, the most wickets in a test match against India.
Patel was just the third player to achieve the 10 wicket feat in the 144-year history of test cricket.
“Im very proud … he’s got very, very big wish to play against in India. Ajaz was born in Mumbai, not far from the stadium,” Yunus Patel said.
He told First Up his extended family over in India shared in his pride and enjoyed the moment too.
“Everyone was very excited and some people don’t believe it yet. I can’t believe it, it’s a big achievement.”
He said after his son took 6 wickets, he had a feeling he might hit the magic 10 number. At eight wickets Yunus said his nerves were frayed watching his progress live in TV.
The family came over to New Zealand in 1996, when Ajaz was eight years old. Yunus said his son had played cricket ‘just for fun’, but then started practising hard after not being selected for the under-19 World Cup, Yunus said.
After his stint at fast-bowling he turned his attention to playing as a spinner. His confidence improved with coaching and he became a formidable spinner in club and provincial cricket.
His son’s top trait is work ethic and the innings was just reward for his hard work, Yunus said.
“The first thing about him is he is very hard working. He helps me with my business also. Sometimes he’d come to my place, no matter who much he’s busy, and helps me.”
Ajaz called his father last night, elated with his achievement. “He hadn’t sleep all night actually.”
Ajaz Patel’s wife, Nilofer, told Morning Report the whole family was glued to the television screen.
“Our hearts basically stopped … when he made that amazing catch, we were all screaming and jumping for joy.
“Mum, dad, grandma, were all jumping. We still couldn’t believe it”.
Former New Zealand international spinner Dipak Patel played a significant role in his namesake’s development when he made the switch from being a pace bowler in his late teens.
“It was very handy pace bowler and was very unlucky not to have been selected for the Under-19 World Cup,” he told Morning Report. “It was actually the coach and had pushed for him to go. Obviously the selectors had the last say.”
The hard work since then had brought him to the top, Dipak Patel added.
“I only helped him along. He’s done the hard work. He’s put a lot of hard work getting to where he is now.”
He said it was a very special occasion and no one could have dreamed of it.
“It was quite surreal watching it unfolding really to be honest. I could imagine the emotion he would have been going through when he did pick up the last wicket. It’s not something that you plan for … it’s a rare occasion, a very unique one,” he said.
“It’s so unique that a spin bowler in India, against the best batsmen in the world playing spin in the first innings of a Test match to take 10 wickets. When you put all that together you start to appreciate how special it was.”
Global adulation also included praise from two of New Zealand’s greatest players.
Sir Richard Hadlee, who held the previous New Zealand record of nine innings wickets, described Patel’s display as “delight to watch” while our most decorated spinner – Daniel Vettori – said the feat surpassed Brendon McCullum’s triple-century as our finest individual achievement.