New Zealand realise that in order to give themselves a chance for a maiden Test series win in India, their bowlers, particularly the spinners, need to buck up and put in a better effort in the second and final game beginning at the Wankhede in Mumbai on Friday, left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel emphasised.
The Mumbai-born Ajaz played an equally important part during the last-wicket partnership with good friend Rachin Ravindra in Kanpur earlier this week, helping New Zealand snatch a draw in the first Test.Ahead of the second Test, he understands well enough that his primary job is to contribute with the ball.
“I think as a spin bowling unit, we were somewhat guilty of possibly not keeping the stumps in play for long periods of time (in the first Test),” Ajaz acknowledged.
“At the same time, these guys (Indian batsmen) are very good players of spin.That wicket (at Green Park) didn’t give us too much as a spin bowling unit, but we’ve just got to make sure that we are tighter in our line and lengths.
“I’m sure all the boys have picked up from that and learnt.But obviously, the new surface will be different and that’s the beauty of playing in India.Every surface is different and it changes and challenges you everyday,” Ajaz explained.
More pace, bounce and turn is expected at the Wankhede, which implies that New Zealand could tweak their playing XI a little bit, something head coach Gary Stead had hinted at.
Experienced left-arm pacer Neil Wagner could be back in the Black Caps’ scheme of things if they do make any changes to their side.Also, rain and overcast conditions in Mumbai could well leave the quicks with a bigger role to play in this Test.“Their (India’s) seamers weren’t as effective as ours (in the first Test),” Ajaz asserted.
“It’s just about adapting to the playing conditions.It’s about playing our best cricket and everyone contributing like they did in the last game.

That’s how we look to play, as it takes a team effort.
“We are playing good cricket at the moment and we are going to tap into that, and be comfortable,” Ajaz added.
Th3 33-year-old Ajaz was barely eight when he moved to New Zealand with his parentsSince then he has been back to Mumbai on several occasions, but coming in as a member of the opposition squad and on the verge of his maiden Test appearance at the Wankhede makes the occasion all the more special for Ajaz.
He’s also a bit “nostalgic” since landing in the city.
“Of course there’s some excitement in coming back to Mumbai.Playing a Test here is a very, very special moment and something I’ll look back on very fondly in future,” Ajaz said.“I’ve been here with family for holidays (in the past).It’s a little bit different now, obviously.This time I am with cricket.”
Playing in front of his family members won’t be an added pressure for Ajaz, though.
“It’s more of an excitement,” he said.“I have got a lot of flashbacks…Leaving Mumbai for the first time and coming back for the first time, then coming here for a wedding and stuff like that.”

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