India-born finger spinner Ajaz Patel has been named by New Zealand Cricket(NZC) as part of their squad to face off against a strong Pakistan in United Arab Emirates later this October. Patel having clinched the most number of wickets in the Plunket Shield, New Zealand's premier first-class domestic competition, for the last three seasons has been finally rewarded for hardwork over a long period. He was also named the domestic player of the year in 2017.
The finger spinner, who was born in Mumbai and moved to New Zealand as a child, took 48 wickets at an average of 21.52 in the 2017-18 domestic season with Central Stags and with Mitchel Santner still recovering from his injury, selectors found Ajaz as the right man to be given the responsibility.
Speaking about Ajaz's inclusion in the squad for the tough series, Chief selector Gavin Larsen said, "Ajaz has deserved his inclusion on the sheer weight of his domestic first-class form over the past couple of summers, With Mitch Santner not fully recovered yet from his knee surgery, it's nice to have both wrist (Todd Astle and Ish Sodhi) and finger (Patel) spin options, given the likely conditions in the UAE."
New Zealand Test squad:
Kane Williamson (capt), Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.
(Inputs from AFP)