Patel determined to seize his chance

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Veteran New Zealand spinner Jeetan Patel is determined to make the most of his unexpected rebirth as an international cricketer late in his career.

The 36-year-old could be forgiven for thinking his international career was at an end after a disappointing tour to South Africa in 2013 where he took just one wicket in two matches.

Patel refused a call-up to the Black Caps team that toured the West Indies in 2014, preferring instead to focus on playing for Warwickshire in the County championship in England leading many including the spinner himself to believe that his career at the highest level was over.

That was until Patel received a call-up to the team touring India in late 2016, the spinner grabbed the opportunity with both hands and has troubled the Proteas batsmen throughout their tour thus far.

Patel said of his return to international cricket: “It’s exciting.

“They’re such a great bunch of guys and they’re certainly going somewhere with their cricket and I want to help them get there.

“I didn’t plan to play for New Zealand again. But when the stars align, it’s beautiful. You get an opportunity to make up for lost time, for an opportunity I may have missed.”

Patel has been propelled to a position of prominence despite the emergence of the spinning talents of Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi and is determined to make the most of his time in the sun.

He would add: “They’re such a great bunch of guys and they’re certainly going somewhere with their cricket and I want to help them get there.

“I didn’t plan to play for New Zealand again. But when the stars align, it’s beautiful. You get an opportunity to make up for lost time, for an opportunity I may have missed.”

Patel is delighted at the prospect of playing a Test at the Basin Reserve in Wellington, his home ground.

He went on: “I’d love to play a Test match at the Basin, I think it’s the greatest ground in New Zealand and almost the world.

“It’d be great to play in front of my home crowd, but you don’t always get what you want. We’ll have to sit and see what the wicket is and what our better weapons will be to attack them.”

The second Test in Wellington gets underway on March 16 with the series still locked at 0-0 after the final day of the first Test was washed out forcing a draw.

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