The changing base brought him to cricket, the switch to spin made it all possible for Ajaz

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“It’s a proud moment for the whole family. We expected a good performance but it’s exceptional. It’s sad that I couldn’t be on the ground to watch this feat live. work and had to come to the office and watch TV, ”Ajaz’s older cousin Owais Patel, who lives here, told PTI.

“Our families are very close and only last year we visited them in New Zealand. I spoke to him after he arrived in Mumbai. I still don’t know but I plan to meet him after the test match,” he added.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Ajaz’s family often vacationed in India.

Thanks to his former Kiwi teammate and Mumbai Indians coach Mitchell McClenaghan, he often came to watch the matches of the Indian Premier League team at Wankhede Stadium and also played against them a few times.

Ajaz extracted a tight turn and rebound from the pitch and carried New Zealand bowling on his shoulders to limit the home team’s first innings total to 325.

As he walked through the Indian batting lineup with his cunning, turn and precision, some of his family cheered him on from the stands.

Long before he could savor his greatest moment in the game, it was former New Zealand spinner Dipak Patel who encouraged him to quit the beat and get into spin bowling. Dipak was then the coach of the New Zealand Under-19 team.

In New Zealand, Ajaz started his career in Auckland, but it was only after moving to the central districts that the player started to show his skills.

Ajaz played for Auckland A without much success, then moved to the Central Districts, where he was quickly integrated into first-class cricket and made his debut in 2012.

He also made his T20 debut in the same year, but had to wait three more years to play cricket at 50.

His rise in international cricket was built on his success at the national level.

Ajaz continued to take wickets consistently and he was eventually rewarded with a New Zealand summons in 2018 after 16 appearances at five and three at 10 wickets.

It came after a lot of hard work and intense competition from already established Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi.

But once he found his place in the top flight, he was on his way.


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