New Zealand’s Mumbai-born left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel couldn’t hide his emotions as he spoke about playing at the Wankhede stadium in the second Test against India, 25 years after his family had left these shores for good. In an online press conference on Wednesday, Patel expressed his emotions by saying, “It’s definitely emotional. I was thinking about it when we landed in Mumbai on Tuesday and I was coming out of the airport – the amount of times I’ve left the airport just to get on to my family or friends, to come back for a holiday. But this time it is a little bit different. This time I’m here with cricket and representing New Zealand. I’ve come to Wankhede and watched a lot of IPL games, thanks to Mitchell McClenaghan. I’ve also bowled to Mumbai in their training sessions. So yes, it’s cool as well as nostalgic to be here.”
Patel’s parents colonized to New Zealand in 1996. His team kept hunting for a series win after sharing a last-wicket stand with debutant Rachin Ravindra in the first Test at Kanpur to play the final 52 balls for a exhilarating draw. He shared that it has only generated more interest among his extended family in the city. “I’ve got a lot of family members coming on various days. That’s the beauty of Test cricket, everyone can come in on days that they’re free. It will be very special. They haven’t had the chance to watch me play in person, they’ve never seen me play any cricket in person. So it will be the first time with them sitting in the stands and watching. That’s really special for me. Even back home my parents still haven’t watched me play a Test match,” he commented.