New Zealand great Richard Hadlee has recognised the extraordinary feat of spinner Ajaz Patel, who can’t believe how “the stars have aligned” for him after he became only the third bowler to take all 10 wickets in an innings in international cricket.
The 33-year-old Patel, who took 10-119 against India in the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium, joined England offspinner Jim Laker (1956, 10-53 against Australia) and India legspinner Anil Kumble (1999, 10-74 against Pakistan) in picking up all wickets in an innings.
“Welcome to the club #AjazPatel #Perfect10. Well bowled! A special effort to achieve it on day one and two of a test match,” spin bowling great Kumble, who took 619 Test wickets for India, tweeted.
It was the first time a bowler has taken 10 wickets in an innings in a Test away from home, although, romantically, Patel was playing his first Test in the city of his birth.
Patel, whose parents immigrated to New Zealand in 1996, added six wickets to the four he took on the first day on Friday
“To be honest, it’s pretty surreal,” he said.
“I don’t think you ever believe you’re going to achieve something like that. So to be able to do it in my career, it’s pretty special.”
Patel said he had yet to comprehend the magnitude of his achievement, which bettered the 9-52 legendary allrounder Hadlee took in a win over Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane in 1985.
“Congratulations to Ajaz on a superb bowling performance,” Hadlee said in a statement issued via NZ Cricket.
“It was a delight to watch; a well deserved reward, and a great moment for him, New Zealand cricket, and world cricket.
“To be in the great company of Jim Laker and Anil Kumble is very special indeed.”
Patel – a left-arm spinner who started his career as a fast bowler – extracted sharp turn and bounce from the pitch and carried the New Zealand bowling on his shoulders to restrict the hosts’ first innings total to 325.
After picking up the wickets of Wriddhiman Saha and Ravichandran Ashwin in his first over on Saturday, he returned after the lunch interval to take the remaining four to wrap up India’s innings.
As Rachin Ravindra pouched a skier from India’s No.11 batter Mohammed Siraj to confirm the fall of the final wicket, Patel went down on one knee with a clenched fist before being hugged by his teammates.
He also received a standing ovation from India players in the dressing room and the sparse crowd at the ground overlooking the Arabian Sea.
“I’m very fortunate and I guess the stars have aligned for me to have an occasion like that here in Mumbai,” Patel said.
“To be born here and then come back here and achieve something like that, it’s pretty special.”