Ajaz Patel named ICC Player of the Month for December
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has named New Zealand bowler Ajaz Patel the Player of the Month for December. Ajaz has been rewarded for his incredible haul of 10 wickets in the Wankhede Test against India. The off-spinner became just the third player to take all 10 wickets in a Test innings. Ajaz was nominated alongside Mayank Agarwal and Mitchell Starc for the award.
Why does this story matter?
- The ICC introduced the Player of the Month award last year.
- This accolade recognizes the best performances of male and female cricketers across formats (international cricket) throughout the year.
- The fans vote online every month to pick their favorite male and female player based on their performance in international cricket in that month.
- And, Ajaz has been voted the best player of December.
A perfect 10 for Ajaz Patel
Although New Zealand lost the Wankhede Test, Ajaz shattered multiple records. He became only the third bowler in Test history to have taken all 10 wickets in an innings. England's Jim Laker was the first bowler to do so. The former off-spinner recorded figures of 10/53 against Australia in 1956. The legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble achieved this feat in 1999 (10/74 vs Pakistan, Delhi).
Best innings figures by a NZ bowler in Test cricket
Ajaz recorded astonishing figures of 10/119 in the first innings at Wankhede. The left-arm spinner claimed the best innings figures by a New Zealand bowler in Test cricket. He broke the record of former New Zealand bowler Sir Richard Hadlee, who took 9/52 against Australia in 1985. Overall, Ajaz has the third-best innings figures after Laker (10/53) and Kumble (10/74).
JP Duminy, a former South African batter and a member of the ICC Voting Academy for December, highlighted the incredible achievement of Ajaz. "What a historic achievement! Taking 10 wickets in an innings is a feat that needs to be celebrated. There's no doubt that Ajaz performance is a milestone that will be remembered for years to come," said Duminy.
Ajaz was dropped from New Zealand's Test squad
Despite his incredible achievement, Ajaz was dropped from New Zealand's Test squad for the ongoing Bangladesh series. He was left out even after being fully fit. Notably, Ajaz's compatriot Rachin Ravindra was retained. The latter remains the only spinner in the squad. Rachin made his Test debut in the India series. He was wicketless in the first Test against Bangladesh.