Former India pace bowler Zaheer Khan has said that New Zealand’s left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel has learnt from Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel and he has adapted their “success mantra” in Indian conditions as well. His comments came as Ajaz claimed all 10 wickets to fall in India’s first innings in the Mumbai Test. He picked up four wickets on Day 1 and added six more on Saturday, including the big one of centurion Mayank Agarwal for 150.
Speaking about the reasons behind Ajaz’s standout bowling effort, Zaheer said to Cricbuzz that the veteran cricketer seems to have taken a leaf out of Jadeja and Axar’s books as well. He said: “I think Ajaz has adopted Jadeja and Axar’s success mantra in Indian conditions. He seems to have learnt from the way the two left-arm spinners bowl in India. We have seen Jadeja and Axar getting good drift, bowling wicket-to-wicket using the angle. And, as soon as there is help from the surface they become even more dangerous.”
Applauding Ajaz, Zaheer stated that the visitors may have missed a trick by not playing their key spinner Mitchell Santner. Notably, Ajaz claimed all 10 wickets in the first innings of the Mumbai Test.
The veteran again said: “Ajaz has made very good use of his drift and arm ball. There is a lot of help for left-arm spinners on this surface. The story could have been different for New Zealand had Santner played. Maybe they missed a trick by not playing him.”
“When India bowl, Jayant (Yadav) and (Ravichandran) Ashwin will make use of the bounce. New Zealand have their limitations in this department because they lack options. Their off-spinner (Somerville) is one-dimensional. Hence, I feel India are in a very good position,” Zaheer Khan concluded.