The ongoing series between Pakistan and New Zealand has been witness to a handful of new faces and the absence of a few regulars. Amongst the freshest of faces are some slightly experienced men, at least age wise. But without any international experience. We’re talking about New Zealand’s new coach Gary Stead and Ish Sodhi’s spinner companion Ajaz Patel. The 30-year-old Ajaz Patel made his first international appearance today, against Pakistan in the 1st T20 International. Here are the 5 things we need to know about him:
- The newest addition to the Blackcaps side, Ajaz Patel, was born in Mumbai. He’s the fifth Indian born cricketer to play international cricket for New Zealand. The other four in this list are Ted Badcock, Tom Puna, Ish Sodhi, and Jeet Raval.
- He plays domestic Cricket for Central districts and earned a contract with them for the 2018-19 season in June 2018.
- He was the leading wicket-taker in the 2017-18 Plunket Shield season with 48 dismissals. He played a total of nine matches in the latest season of the domestic league at a commendable average of 21.52 and paved the way for the Stags winning the title. Patel was therefore named the Domestic Player of the Year in that season.
- In July 2018, Patel was named in the Test squad for the series against Pakistan in UAE later this year. He was 29 years old when he got a Test call-up. He was named in the squad as a replacement for Micthell Santner who is under recovery from a knee injury that had forced him to miss the IPL. Given to the spin-friendly conditions in UAE, Ajaz will likely make his debut in the series against Pakistan.
- Following that, just three days prior to the commencement of the T20I series between Pakistan and New Zealand the latter named the last two additions to the squad for the limited overs. Glenn Philips and Corey Anderson earned a spot each in the T20I squad. Ajaz Patel was named in the T20 International squad as the second spinner to Ish Sodhi.
- Patel picked 4 for 57 off 8.5 overs overall in the three recently-concluded T20s between Pakistan A and New Zealand A, helping the latter winning the series 2-1. He averaged 14.25 and had an economy rate of 6.45 in doing the same.
- Ajaz made his international debut for New Zealand in the first T20I against Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. He bagged his first international wicket, on debut, in the form of Sahibzada Farhan. With that dismissal, he became the 13th left-arm spinner to take a T20 International wicket on debut after reaching the age of 30.