New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel was named the ICC Player of the Month 2021 for men’s cricket thanks to his record-breaking 10 wickets in an innings against India in the Mumbai Test last month. Patel became the third bowler ever to achieve this feat after England’s Jim Laker and India’s Anil Kumble.
Ajaz picked up 14 wickets in the Mumbai Test match in early December against India, including all 10 in the first innings. He broke Sir Richard Hadlee’s record for best bowling figures by a New Zealand bowler in Test matches and best bowling figures by a left-arm spinner in Tests. The Mumbai-born Ajaz made a fairy tale comeback to his birth city in his first-ever tour of India with the Test team.
“It was quite a special occasion, pretty cool for me, but especially for my family. The amount of support I’ve received from them over the years to be able to do what I do, it’s quite special to see the joy that it has brought to them. I thought the boys bowled really well, I guess it was fated that things were meant to happen at my end on the day.
I guess it has (sunk in), but at the same time, you mention it’s only been done three times, but I think there’s a lot of luck involved as well.” Ajaz said at the conclusion of the Test match.
There’s No Doubt That Ajaz Performance Is A Milestone That Will Be Remembered For Years: JP Duminy
Ajaz Patel had ended the first day of the Mumbai Test match with all four wickets to his name. He then made an immediate statement on the first session the following day with wickets off back-to-back deliveries. While he was denied a hat-trick, Ajaz went on to take all ten wickets in the innings, inducing applause from even the opposition camp.
Mayank Agarwal, who was nominated for the award along with Ajaz Patel, scored 150 runs opening the innings for India, helping them to 325 runs. Unfortunately, New Zealand was bundled out for 62 runs as Ravichandran Ashwin picked 4/8. India then made 276/7d in the second innings, setting Kiwis a target of 540 runs.
However, the Black Caps managed just 167, losing the match by 372 runs.
JP Duminy, a Member of ICC Voting Academy for December, hailed the achievement. “What a historic achievement! Taking 10 wickets in an innings is a feat that needs to be celebrated. There’s no doubt that Ajaz performance is a milestone that will be remembered for years to come.”