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Ajaz Patel after 10-for: 'One of the greatest cricketing days in my life'

As a result of the 10-for, he has something to do as he quarantines when he goes back home

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
Ajaz Patel is in no hurry to go through the notifications on his phone after he became only the third man in the history of Test cricket to take all 10 wickets in an innings. He might have been born in the chaotic city of Mumbai, but Ajaz is a proper New Zealander now. Revealing ice running through his veins, Ajaz said, "I might leave them for quarantine for when I get back home."
Not that he was not at home when he bowled at the Wankhede. He was about eight years old when his family moved to New Zealand. "To come back home to Mumbai and Wankhede and to be able to produce something like that is quite special," Ajaz said. "I am thankful to god for blessing me with such an occasion in my cricketing journey."
Ajaz ended the first day on four wickets, and when leaving he had his eye on the stadium's honours board. "I mean I knew leaving here last night there was still work to do," he said. "I really really wanted to get my name on the honours board. I had no expectation of it going up in this fashion. It is very special and pretty cool. One of the first things I saw when I got off was my name is definitely going to be on the honours board now."
One of the first congratulatory tweets for him was from one of the two other men to have achieved this feat, Anil Kumble. "I definitely do remember [Kumble's effort at Feroz Shah Kotla]," Ajaz said. "I have seen highlights of it as well many a time. To be in such an illustrious group is really really special. It was very cool to see his message and kind words. I am very very humbled and very very fortunate to be in such fine company."
One of the stumbling blocks for Ajaz was Mayank Agarwal, whose one innings alone was worth 2.5 times New Zealand's. "To score 150 out there in conditions that are pretty challenging for batting is pretty special," Ajaz said. "My plan was simple: keep challenging him with good balls. As a batter he has got to front up every ball. As a bowler, I have to keep bowling my best ball. It was a long battle. Sometimes they take a lot longer than you like. He played a special knock as well. It was cool for me to finally get him. It was quite rewarding to be honest. It was a lot of hard work trying to get him out."
The final few moments of the 10-for left Ajaz nervous, especially as the last catch, a skier, wobbled on its way down. "We back Rachin [Ravindra] to be under that but I saw the ball wobble a bit while coming down so I was a bit nervous for a second, but Rachin took a brilliant catch," Ajaz said. "I said to Neil Wagner who ran on just before the 10th wicket, I am more nervous now than I have been all game. It was pretty special. Knowing that you are going to achieve something special was quite unbelievable, and I am just ecstatic that I got to do it in Mumbai.
"Personally I think one of the greatest cricketing days in my life. And it will probably always be."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo