DUBAI: The man who spun New Zealand to a stunning victory in the first Test against Pakistan has vowed to keep the pressure on the home team when the two sides meet again in the second Test in Dubai on Saturday.
Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel had a dream start to his Test career, claiming a memorable 5-59 in Abu Dhabi to help New Zealand pull off a sensational four-run win after setting Pakistan a modest 176-run target.
The 30-year-old, who collected the man of the match award in Abu Dhabi, said keeping up the pressure is the key in a Test.
“I think it will be pretty much the same plan, to keep the pressure for a longer period of time and keep bowling good balls in good areas,” Patel told AFP.
“A good ball is a good ball in Test cricket and batters respect that. Likewise they will put pressure back on us so it’s a bit of a cat and mouse game, backward and forward, so we will do our best.”
Pakistan have been stung by the criticism of their self-destructive batting which saw them throw away their last seven wickets for just 41 runs. The Black Caps are preparing for the backlash.
“Pakistan batsmen are good players of spin and after that defeat they will go hard on us so we will be ready for that,” said Patel.
Another win would give New Zealand their first series triumph away to Pakistan since Graham Dowling led them to a 1-0 success in 1969.
– Kiwi resilience –
Patel praised New Zealand’s never-say-die approach.
“To be honest we had the belief that it can happen on this wicket which wasn’t easy to bat on and we kept that belief that we can pull that off,” said Patel.
Patel said New Zealand have a tradition of fighting hard.
“I think it’s a very much a New Zealand environment thing, that is that everything is possible at any point of time and we always go out and fight regardless of chasing or defending a small total or a large total.
“Cricket is a funny game and one ball can change things very quickly so it’s one of those things. If you keep fighting every ball you walk off satisfied and we take this approach in every game.”
Patel, born in Mumbai before migrating to New Zealand as a six-year-old kid, was selected on the tour after his stellar performance for Central Stags during which he took 48 wickets last year.
And he looks forward to playing against the country of his birth next year when India tour New Zealand.
“I will be fortunate if I am able to play in that series,” said Patel. “As a growing Indian you are always passionate about cricket and you watch a lot of great Indian players just like I have watched New Zealand players.”
Patel hopes he can test his skills against Virat Kohli.
“Kohli will be a great challenge,” said Patel of the Indian maestro. “You always want to challenge yourself against the best and he is the best in the world.
“So if that comes I will cherish it and give it the best crack.”
The second Test between Pakistan and New Zealand starts in Dubai on Saturday.