Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - My name will definitely be going up on the Honours Board now - Ajaz Patel. Ajaz picked up all ten wickets in India's first innings.
Ajaz picked up all ten wickets in India's first innings.
When he left the ground after the end of the first day, Ajaz Patel, then with four wickets against his name, was wistfully thinking about getting his name up in the Honours Board at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Coming back and playing at the city of his birth was the stuff of dreams he had confessed.
“I knew leaving here last night that there was still work to do. I really, really wanted to get my name up on the Honours Board,” said Ajaz as he looked back at his feat at the end of the day. “I had no expectation of going up in such fashion. So it is very, very special and pretty cool way. One of the first things that I said when I went off was that ‘My name will definitely be going to be up on the Honours Board now'.”
His historic tenth wicket – that of Mohammad Siraj – came with the batter looking to go big and get caught instead. “Ajaz Patel bowled extraordinarily well on a turning wicket. So I wanted to attack him and put him under extra pressure. That is the reason for the shot,” explained Siraj after the day's play. And as Rachin Ravindra settled under the catch, there were nerves for Ajaz as well.
“It was nervous times, obviously you'd still back Rachin to be under that but I saw the ball wobble as it was coming down, and I was a bit nervous. But Rachin took a brilliant catch there. I said to Neil Wagner who ran on before the tenth wicket, ‘I'm more nervous now than I have been all game'. So it was pretty special, and knowing that you're going to achieve something special was quite unbelievable. And I'm just ecstatic that I got to do in Mumbai,” recalled Ajaz.
And the moment came in for special praise from one of the other two members of the ten-wicket club in Tests, Anil Kumble who welcomed Ajaz to the club with a message.
Anil Kumble @anilkumble1074 Welcome to the club #AjazPatel #Perfect10 Well bowled! A special effort to achieve it on Day1 & 2 of a test match. #INDvzNZ 07:48 AM • Dec 12, 2021
“Definitely do,” said Ajaz when asked if he had memories of Kumble's feat. “I've seen highlights of that as well plenty of times, To be in such illustrious grouping is very, very special. And it was really, really cool to see his message and hear his kind words. I'm very very humbled and very, very fortunate to be in such fine company.”
While Kumble had his teammates at the other end try and not take a wicket as he neared the landmark, Ajaz said that it wasn't on his mind.
“No talk of that. For us, it didn't matter who got the wickets. I would have been happy if I had got nine and got to get out of the park with someone else taking the tenth wicket. None of that. Although in saying that, at the other end I don't know what they would have chosen to do,” he said.
A large part of his battle while going through the side was against India's opener Mayank Agarwal who scored 150, and came in for special praise from Ajaz while recounting their battle.
“Mayank played really well, that was a very special innings, he pretty much got half the runs in that innings. To score a 150 out there and conditions that are pretty challenging for batting, its pretty special and you got to respect him for that. My plan to him was pretty simple – to keep challenging him with good balls. As a batsman he's got to front up every ball, and as a bowler I've got to make sure that I bowl the best ball to him. So it was a long battle, sometimes it takes longer than you like, sometimes the batsman gets the better of you. But yeah he played a special knock as well. It was cool for me to finally get him, it was quite rewarding to be honest, it took a lot of hard work to get him out,” said Ajaz.
The day also turned out to be one with mixed emotions for Ajaz, with a big personal milestone but his team falling well behind in the game.
“Personally, I believe it is one of the greatest cricketing days of my life. I think it will probably always be,” he said and added, “We've got to make sure we front up tomorrow and scrap as much as we can. We know, I guess, we're on the backfoot but we still got to come out here tomorrow and make sure we work s hard as possible to try and see how we can turn the game around or even eke out something special.”
The heat of the battle also didn't allow him to fully gather his feelings around the historic achievement, admitted Ajaz. “Not really, to be honest with you. I guess after I came off the field things happened pretty quickly. These kinds of things probably sink in a bit later, if I'm honest with you. Obviously, It is a special moment, I'm not going to lie about that.
“It's brilliant for me, not only me but my family. My mom and dad, all their support, my wife and all her support. It is never easy being a cricketer, you spend a lot of time away from home. To be able to come back home, to Mumbai, to Wankhede and do something like that is quite special. I'm grateful to God, he's blessed with me this occasion in my cricketing journey. So it's really, really special for me,” he said.
And he refused to delve into the possibilities of the future after such a performance, including if a gig in the IPL could be on the cards now.
“Oh look, if I could figure out if I would ever get a contract, I'd be very lucky! But I haven't thought that far ahead, for me right now playing for NZ is the most important thing, I've got a Test match to worry about,” he said.
Ajaz though did give an inkling of what the near future could be like.
“It's a special day for me, I have a lot of messages to try and get through but I might leave them for quarantine when I get back home.”