|Ajaz Patel Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 6 in|
|Date of Birth||October 21, 1988|
Ajaz Patel is a New Zealander professional cricketer who has represented his country in the longest and shortest formats of the sport (Tests and T20Is), as a frontline spin bowler. In New Zealand’s domestic circuit, he has played for Central Districts (2012-13–Present) across all 3 formats. A rare occurrence in modern cricket, Ajaz has also played domestic cricket outside of his home country representing Yorkshire County Cricket Club (2019) in England.
Ajaz Yunus Patel
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
- Father – Yunus Patel (Owner of a Refrigeration Business)
- Mother – Shahnaz Patel (Former Teacher)
- Siblings – Sana Patel (Younger Sister), Tanzil Patel (Younger Sister)
- Others – Akeel Patel (Maternal Uncle)
Slow Left-Arm Orthodox
24 – Test Match, T20 International (T20I)
5 ft 6 in or 167.5 cm
73 kg or 161 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Ajaz has dated –
- Nilofer Patel (2015-Present) – Ajaz got married to Nilofer in January 2015 and they have a daughter together.
Race / Ethnicity
- Toned physique
- Short-cropped hair
- Affable smile
- Sports a thick beard
Ajaz has been sponsored by –
- Gray-Nicolls AUS/NZ
- Asics NZ
- Cyclona Sportswear
Ajaz Patel Facts
- Born in Mumbai, Ajaz had emigrated to New Zealand, with his family, when he was 8 years old. In his developmental years, he was a left-arm seam bowler. It was only in his early 20s that he realized that he would be better off switching to spin bowling as his height would be a limiting factor in becoming a decent pace bowler.
- He had first come into the spotlight in the 2015–16 season of the Plunket Shield (New Zealand’s premier domestic first-class cricket competition) when he had topped the tournament’s wicket-taking charts with 43 dismissals. He was the leading wicket-taker in the following 2 seasons (2016-17 and 2017-18) as well, with 44 and 48 dismissals, respectively. In the last of those seasons, his bowling was vital in his team’s run to the title.
- Following his exploits, in April 2018, he was named the ‘Men’s Domestic Player of the Year’ at the New Zealand Cricket Awards. Due to his consistently dominant performance in domestic cricket, he was selected in all 3 of New Zealand’s squads (Tests, ODIs, and T20Is) for their bilateral series against Pakistan in the UAE in late 2018. He went on to make his Test and T20I debuts for New Zealand on that tour, becoming the 5th Indian-origin cricketer to play for New Zealand after Ted Badcock, Tom Puna, Ish Sodhi, and Jeet Raval.
- In his test match debut for New Zealand, against Pakistan in November 2018, he had scalped 5 wickets in the second innings, helping New Zealand win by the thinnest of margins – 4 runs. He was named the ‘Player of the Match’. With 13 wickets in 3 matches, he was New Zealand’s highest wicket-taker in the test series. New Zealand went on to win the series by a margin of 2–1 and it was New Zealand’s first away test series win against Pakistan since 1969.
- In December 2021, in the 2nd match of New Zealand’s bilateral away test series against India, in his birth city of Mumbai, he had become just the 3rd bowler in history to take all 10 wickets in a test match innings. The 2 bowlers to have achieved this rare feat before Ajaz were Jim Laker of England (in 1956) and Anil Kumble of India (in 1999). He finished the match with overall figures of 14/225, the best by any bowler in a test match against India, surpassing Sir Ian Botham’s 13/106 in 1980. These were also the 2nd-best bowling figures by a New Zealander in test match cricket, only behind Sir Richard Hadlee who had taken 15/123 against Australia in Brisbane in 1985.
- The match was a rather bittersweet experience for him because, despite his generational heroics in his city of birth, India hammered New Zealand by 372 runs and took the series by a margin of 1-0. This was India’s greatest ever margin of victory in test cricket and New Zealand’s worst-ever defeat in history. By virtue of this win, India had also displaced New Zealand from the top position in the ICC Test Rankings. Ajaz thus became the bowler with the best test match figures in history (14/225) to end up on the losing side.
- He had made his presence felt in the first match of the series as well, this time with the bat. With New Zealand floundering at 155/9 in 89.2 overs, in hopeless pursuit of a target of 284 runs, he had walked onto the pitch as the last batsman. But defying all predictions, he had hung around gamely with debutant Rachin Ravindra for 8.4 overs which had earned New Zealand a draw, thus keeping the series tied at 0-0 with a game left.
Featured Image by Ajaz Patel / Instagram