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Ajaz Patel keen to pick Daniel Vettori's brain after a 'good night' with the ball

NZ left-arm spinner eager to learn how to adapt to different conditions

Deivarayan Muthu
Ajaz Patel has a bowl during training, Dubai, November 23, 2018

Ajaz Patel bowled the second-most economical four-over spell for New Zealand in the first T20I against Bangladesh  •  AFP

On Wednesday, Ajaz Patel stepped up as New Zealand's lone specialist spinner in Dhaka, coming away with 1 for 7 - the second-most economical four-over effort for the side in T20Is . On Thursday, Patel revealed that he had a chat lined up with Daniel Vettori, who holds the New Zealand record for the most economical figures in four overs. In February 2010, Vettori claimed 3 for 6 against Bangladesh in Hamilton.
"It's pretty cool. Obviously, two people that I look up to when it comes to spin bowling as a left-armer are Dan [Vettori] and Rangana [Herath]," Patel said. "Rangana [who is Bangladesh's current spin-bowling consultant] was there yesterday and I had a brief chat with him and I've got a chat lined up with Dan today, talking about his experiences in Bangladesh and stuff like that. So, I'm looking forward to that as well.
"Obviously, he [Vettori] has played a lot of cricket around the world and he knows as a left-armer what challenges he faced and what differences he came across as he travelled around the world. So, it'll be nice to be able to pick his brain around and the differences he faced and challenges and how he kind of adapted to them. I'm hoping that that'll give me a bit more of a head start coming to conditions like this."
In the T20I series opener, Patel took the new ball and struck in his second over, when he found delightful dip and turn to have Liton Das stumped for 1. Patel then consistently darted the ball into the Dhaka track and handcuffed the hosts with turn - or the lack thereof. He didn't give up a single boundary and 17 of his 24 balls were dots. He was looking forward to more of the same for the rest of the series.
"I think, on surfaces like that where you have that much assistance, sometimes it's just about control," Patel said. "It's about being able to control your length and what you're trying to do with the ball. Sometimes, the most dangerous balls are the ones that don't turn. So, sometimes that can be a challenge as well. Yeah, last night was a good night for me, personally with the ball, and I'd like to maybe try and replicate that throughout the series. Hopefully, we can turn some results our way."
"It's about getting a clear idea of what we experienced yesterday and what our plans are going forward."
Ajaz Patel
New Zealand had simulated spin-friendly conditions at their winter camps in Lincoln and Mount Maunganui - before having five outdoor training sessions upon arrival in Dhaka - but Patel conceded that game-time is an entirely different thing. He hoped that New Zealand would learn from their irreparable collapse in the first game and adapt better for the second.
"Obviously, we'll take a lot of learnings from yesterday and you know it's nice to get out there [in the middle]," Patel said. "Obviously, we've been training for a few days prior to that, but you never know what it's going to be like until you get into the middle, so I think we'll learn from that pretty quickly and adapt for the next one.
"It's about getting a clear idea of what we experienced yesterday and what our plans are going forward. So, it's all about looking ahead and looking for the next one and see how we can build from yesterday."
The advantage of a short tour - New Zealand have been lined up to play five T20Is in ten days - is that their 60 all out can be swiftly consigned to history.
"That's the great thing. I guess in a condensed tour like this, you don't have much time to dwell on the past," Patel said. "You just keep looking forward and moving on."

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo