New Zealand’s new hero Ajaz Patel credits the “very calm” team environment in the national side after bowling the Black Caps to a famous victory in the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
The 30-year-old Patel returned figures of 5-59 in the second innings to bowl the Kiwis to a dramatic four-run win, the fifth narrowest margin of victory in terms of runs in Test cricket history.
Chasing a target of 176, Pakistan collapsed from 130/3 to be bowled out for 171 with Patel taking the final wicket to cap a great maiden appearance in the longest format.
Patel said after the game: “My game plan is very simple, even though the scoreboard didn’t look like it. As a unit, we kept chipping away.
“A lot of credit goes to the environment we have, a very calm environment we have. In terms of the pressure on debut, I think I have put in a lot of handwork.
“It’s an absolute dream come true in the end. We know Pakistan have got very good players of spin, but we kept chipping in there.”
The scenes at the end of the game of New Zealand players and management celebrating wildly on the field and in the dressing room will live long in the memory.
Patel continued: “It’s still quite surreal at the moment. It’ll sink in the next couple of days but I wouldn’t have dreamt it to start any better. To do it in that fashion is quite special.”
The second Test of the three-match series starts in Dubai on Saturday.
All-rounder will step in next week with Root missing the match to attend the birth of his second child.
The all-rounder left home county Yorkshire earlier this month.
No play was possible on the second morning of the intra-squad match.
Ben Stokes thinks his experience under the captaincy of Alastair Cook and Joe Root will help him succeed in the role himself.
Players had initially been held back.
Australia’s white ball captain Aaron Finch says he’s preparing for September’s tour of England to go ahead.
The West Indies batsman has struggled to live up to early promise.
The star all-rounder is preparing to deputise for father-to-be Joe Root against the West Indies.
This four-day match represents the last opportunity for selection for the first Test against England.