Ten-wicket hero Ajaz Patel wins ICC Men’s Player of the month for December

Ajaz Patel

New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel is the ICC’s Player of the Month for December following his incredible 10-wicket haul against India at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.

The Mumbai-born Ajaz was nominated for the award alongside Mayank Agarwal and Australia Ashes destroyer Mitchell Starc.

However, the tweaker beat them to the award on the back of his incredibly rare feat.

In all, Ajaz picked up 14 wickets in the Mumbai Test match in early December against India, including all 10 in the first innings, thereby becoming just the third player in Test history, after Jim Laker and Anil Kumble, to achieve the remarkable milestone.

“Personally I think it’s one of the greatest cricketing days of my life and probably will always be,” Patel told reporters in Mumbai at the time.

“From the team perspective, it’s obviously tough. But we still have more Test cricket left. We got to make sure we front up tomorrow and scrap as much as we can.

“We are on the backfoot, but we got to come back here tomorrow and make sure we work as hard as possible to see how we can turn this game around or eke out something special.”

Ajaz made a fairy tale comeback to his birth city in his first-ever tour of India with the Test team.

Ajaz ended the first day of the Test with all four Indian wickets to fall under his name and made an impact on the first session the following day with wickets off back-to-back deliveries. While he was denied a hat-trick, Ajaz went on to take all ten wickets in the innings, inducing applause from even the opposition camp.

“Personally I think one of the greatest cricketing days in my life. And it will probably always be,” Ajaz said at the conclusion of the Test match.

Former Proteas star JP Duminy, a Member of ICC Voting Academy for December, hailed the achievement.

“What a historic achievement,” Duminy said.

“Taking 10 wickets in an innings is a feat that needs to be celebrated. There’s no doubt that Ajaz performance is a milestone that will be remembered for years to come.”