ZB

Perfect 10 then out! Black Caps axe Ajaz Patel from test squad

Author
Niall Anderson, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Dec 2021, 12:26pm
Ajaz Patel. (Photo / Getty)
Ajaz Patel. (Photo / Getty)

Perfect 10 then out! Black Caps axe Ajaz Patel from test squad

Author
Niall Anderson, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 23 Dec 2021, 12:26pm

If you want to watch 10-wicket test hero Ajaz Patel play in New Zealand this summer, you might have to head out to a Central Districts domestic match. 

Patel has been axed from the Black Caps' test squad, just 19 days after becoming the third player in test cricket history to take 10 wickets in an innings. 

The 33-year-old's incredible 10-119 against India in Mumbai was not enough for the spinner to make the next Black Caps squad for two home tests against Bangladesh, with the selectors opting for the all-round talents of Rachin Ravindra as their sole spin option. 

With Patel having failed to take a wicket in 49 overs across three tests in unfavourable New Zealand conditions, Black Caps coach Gary Stead is backing a seam-led bowling attack. 

"You do feel for Ajaz after his record-breaking display in India. However, we've always applied a horses-for-courses selection policy and believe the players selected best fit the way we want to take on Bangladesh here at home." 

Patel could feel hard done by when contemplating the first test against Bangladesh at Mount Maunganui's Bay Oval on New Year's Day. 

Bay Oval has given more assistance to spinners than other New Zealand grounds, and Mitchell Santner – also dropped from the squad due to Ravindra's rise – played a significant role in sealing victories over Pakistan and England at the venue in prior years. 

However, Stead is sticking with his seamers, who form the core reason why New Zealand have been unbeaten in 17 straight tests at home since 2017. 

Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Kyle Jamieson and Matt Henry are all included in the squad, but Colin de Grandhomme – who averages 46.9 with the bat and 31.1 with the ball at home – is another notable omission. 

Tom Latham will captain the side in the absence of injured skipper Kane Williamson, while Latham's opener partner will likely be Devon Conway, who returns to the squad after breaking his hand in the Twenty20 World Cup semifinal against England. 

Will Young should move down a spot to No 3 in place of Williamson, while Ross Taylor retains his position at No 4 despite a disastrous tour of India. Daryl Mitchell is included as a batting and seam-bowling all-round option. 

"It's great to be back home and at venues we know well, and where we've had success in recent times," said Stead. 

"It's obviously disappointing not to have Kane available for this series but, as we noted in India, he is undergoing a sustained period of rest followed by rehabilitation, strengthening and gradual batting loading. 

"We feel having both Rachin and Daryl in the squad gives us a nice balance and the ability to pick a side best suited to the conditions we expect." 

After the test in Mount Maunganui welcomes in the new year, the two teams move to Hagley Oval in Christchurch on January 9 for the second test. 

Black Caps test squad to face Bangladesh 

Tom Latham (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Will Young.