Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - Ajaz Patel looking forward to a special Mumbai homecoming. "It was quite special for me and Rachin to be out there towards the back end. We just spoke about looking to play the ball as straight as possible."
"It was quite special for me and Rachin to be out there towards the back end. We just spoke about looking to play the ball as straight as possible."
It will be a special occasion for the Mumbai-born Ajaz Patel when the second India-New Zealand Test gets underway, with his family members getting to watch him from the stands of the Wankhede stadium for the first time. As an eight-year-old, Patel migrated to New Zealand with his parents and while he has been to Mumbai on several occasions, this will be the first time in white flannels.
“It's definitely emotional,” said Patel in an online press conference on Wednesday (December 1). “I was thinking about it when we landed in Mumbai yesterday and I was coming out of the airport – the amount of times I've left the airport just to get on to my family or friends, to come back for a holiday. But this time it is a little bit different. This time I'm here with cricket and representing New Zealand. I've come to Wankhede and watched a lot of IPL games, thanks to Mitchell McClenaghan. I've also bowled to Mumbai in their training sessions. so yes, it's cool as well as nostalgic to be here.”
“I've got a lot of family members coming on various days. That's the beauty of Test cricket, everyone can come in on days that they're free. It will be very special. They haven't had the chance to watch me play in person, they've never seen me play any cricket in person. So it will be the first time with them sitting in the stands and watching. That's really special for me. Even back home my parents still haven't watched me play a Test match in New Zealand. So hopefully soon they'll be able to come watch me as well.”
New Zealand go into the second Test with a 0-0 scoreline, which was possible due to a last-wicket defiance from Rachin Ravindra and Patel that helped the visitors eke out a thrilling draw amidst fading light in Kanpur. New Zealand had slipped to 155/9 but Ravindra and Patel batted for close to nine overs to deny India a victory.
“It was quite special for me and Rachin to be out there towards the back end. We just spoke about looking to play the ball as straight as possible. If it goes past the outside edge then it goes past the outside edge. But so long as we're keeping the stumps out of play and getting (the bat) out in front of the pads, that was the most important part. I don't think at any point I really thought about the outcome.
“It was also a very, very cool moment for both of us and I guess the irony of that kind of hit home to both of us at the back end of the game and after the game, that two boys of Indian heritage been brought up in New Zealand were out here playing against one of the biggest cricketing nations and trying to fight for a draw. That I suppose was quite an amazing story in itself and for us it was quite special to have that moment and to be out there I thought was quite fitting.”
Patel, who played out 23 deliveries, including the final over of the game which was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja, said he was just following the advice given to him years ago by Barrington Rowland, the former Karnataka first-class player, on batting in Indian conditions.
“Knowing that you are in India and things can happen very, very quickly, you have to be prepared to bat. I had a coach years ago, a guy named Barrington Rowland, who played a lot of cricket in India. He played a lot of first-class cricket with senior guys like [Rahul] Dravid, VVS [Laxman], etc. I remember the advice that he'd always give me was ‘get your head out in front, get your bat out in front and make sure that it doesn't hit your pads'. So that's all I was looking to follow. It's definitely a different story when I try to score runs (laughs).”
The result in Kanpur was the first time in close to four years a Test match in India finished in a draw. New Zealand will now be aiming to become the first team to beat India in India in a Test series since 2012-2013 when the England team led by Alastair Cook outsmarted India.
“For us, it's still going into a game with the possibility of taking the series. We know the history of playing in India and we know how difficult it has been in the past. The beauty of our team at this moment is that we don't look at history too much and we look at the present. For us, we have a sense of self-belief that we can cause upsets anywhere and we've done that recently we were able to take away the World Test Championship from them.
“So for us, now it's just about playing the best cricket possible and everyone contributing, just like we saw in the last game. It's not just one individual who comes to the party, it does take a team effort and that's what Test cricket is all about. We are playing some very good cricket and we're just going to tap into that and be confident,” said Patel.