Ajaz Patel is an Indian-origin cricketer who plays for the New Zealand team as the left-arm off-spinner. He gained the spotlight after his performance against India on 3 December 2021 where he took a record 10-wickets in an inning thus becoming the third cricketer in the history of cricket to do so after England’s Jim Laker in 1956 and India’s Anil Kumble in 1999. His inning spell stands at 10 for 119 runs in 47.5 overs.
Ajaz Patel was born on Friday, 21 October 1988 (age 33 years; as of 2021) at Jogeshwari West in Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra. His zodiac sign is Libra. At the age of eight, his family moved to New Zealand where he was raised up.
Since childhood, he never wanted to be a professional cricketer. But since he was playing at school-level, his uncle Saeed Patel (also living in New Zealand) saw him performing, so he enrolled him in the Newlyn cricket club from where his cricket journey began. On 27 December 2015, he made his List-A debut wherein the following years, he emerged as the leading wicket-taker for the side. In June 2018, he was awarded a contract with the central district. Soon, in October 2018, he made his international debut against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, UAE where he took one wicket. He then played test matches for the side against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, England, and then India.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Weight (approx.): 75 kg
Hair Colour: Natural Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Yunus Patel and he runs a tire business in New Zealand. Before that, he ran an electronic shop in Jogeshwari West in Mumbai, Maharashtra. His mother’s name is Shahnaz Patel and she is a school teacher. He is the eldest of his two sisters whose names are Tanzeel Patel and Sana Patel.
Wife & Children
On 1 January 2015, Ajaz tied a knot with Nilofer Patel, a local girl near his hometown.
Ajaz Patel practices the Islam religion.
Ajaz Patel resides in Auckland, New Zealand.
Did not play
On 16 November 2018 against Pakistan at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi (UAE)
On 31 October 2018 against Pakistan at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi (UAE)
- Best match figures against India by any cricketer against India (14 for 225 runs) in a Test match surpassing Ian Botham (13 for 106 at the Wankhede in 1980)
- Third bowler to take ten wickets in an inning in a test match
- Joint most wickets for a team as left-hand spinners alongside Rachin Ravindra (17) on 3 December 2021 against India at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.
- Best bowling by a visiting spinner in India, surpassing Australia’s Nathan Lyon (8/50) in 2017.
- Second player after Douglas Jardine from England, who has played against India in his city of birth.
- Best figures by a New Zealand bowler after Richard Hadlee with nine for 52 versus Australia back in 1985 at Brisbane.
The first time he started playing cricket was at the under-15 level. During an interview, he revealed,
“I had a coach at under 15s who was very much about performance and being professional – working on our catching, our fielding, our skill work – rather than just going out and playing. That’s where the game became a lot more competitive and a lot more structured and I think that’s why I began to enjoy it a lot more.”
As he always wanted to be a fast bowler in his playing days, it was getting difficult for him to make it to the side. It was only when a Kenyan-born New Zealand cricketer Dipak Patel advised him to go for a spin, he started bowling slow left arm. He told in an interview,
“I switched from pace to spin as I felt that I was going to be limited with my progression in pace as I was not gonna get any taller. And because I was passionate about getting further with my cricket, I knew that I would need to make a change and try something else and I decided that spin was my strongest option.”
In 2012, he started his domestic career for the Central District after joining the Taradale Club. The coach of Taradale Sean Davies found his bowling impressive after which he remarked,
“His attitude towards club cricket is of a similar standard to how he conducts himself in the first-class game. He’s incredibly professional.”
Further, he adds,
“Often you can see a first-class cricketer when they come back to club level, the effort’s not necessarily as good as it could be, but he’s the polar opposite. He’s a fantastic professional, in every sense.”
He started his List-A career in the 2015-16 Ford Trophy on 27 December 2015 and emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the 2015-16 Plunket Shield season with 43 wickets. Post that, he also was the leading wicket-taker in the same tournament with 44 and 48 wickets respectively. He was performing brilliantly in the domestic circuit.
This rewarded him with an international cap for the New Zealand cricket team in October 2018 in a T20I game where he opened the bowling for his side and took one wicket of their opening batter. He then made his test debut against the same team where he took two and five wickets in both innings respectively. Overall, he is the fifth Indian origin cricket for play for New Zealand after Ted Badcock, Tom Puna, Ish Sodhi, and Jeet Raval. Soon, he got added to the ODI side where he did not get a chance to play.
After playing a few games, in November 2021, he was named in New Zealand’s test squad for the tour of India for two test matches. The first match was a draw with Ajaz picking up two wickets and one in the second. But in the second inning in December 2021, Ajaz finished off his record spell of 10 for 119 runs. In the second inning, he took four wickets for 106 runs in 26 overs.
- Cricket Ground: Eden Park, Central Auckland, New Zealand
- Food: Indian and Chinese food, Chicken Lollipop
- Travel Destination: Santorini
- His international jersey number is 24.
- After that historic bowling spell against India on 3 December 2021, BCCI tweeted,
Incredible achievement as Ajaz Patel picks up all 10 wickets in the 1st innings of the 2nd Test.
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 4, 2021
His maternal grandfather told in an interview after that spell,
“All of us are overjoyed of what Ajaz has achieved. He has made a place for himself in cricketing history.“
Arif Bapuji, a relative of Ajaz said,
“Ajaz is a wonderful cricketer. After his selection on the Kiwis team, we invited him to be the chief guest for one of our local tournaments. But due to a busy schedule, he couldn’t make it. I attended his marriage in Mumbai and I am happy for him.”
- He once told in an interview that his debut in Abu Dhabi for New Zealand is his most memorable cricket memory.