Ajaz's perfect 10 will open doors for more Asian players - Dipak Patel
Dipak Patel, the former New Zealand weirdo, hopes Ajaz Patel's recent 10-wicket haul against India, which put him on an elusive list of cricketers, will inspire many Asian cricketers hoping to play for New Zealand .
Ajaz was born to Indian parents and grew up in Mumbai before his family moved to New Zealand when he was 8 years old. After traversing New Zealand's domestic cricket team, he became the fourth cricketer of Indian descent to represent the country after Dipak, Jeetan Patel and Ish Sodhi.
However, Dipak, who also coaches Ajaz, believes that there has been no equal opportunity for growth for players of Asian origin. But he believes Ajaz's efforts will raise hope and open a few more doors.
"I think that (unequal chances for underdogs) has always been like that," said Dipak. “We are a minority in a foreign country. It's a lot more difficult, no question about it. I don't want to say it's a secret, it wasn't easy for me to take the Asian cricketers with me. I think it's about time it happened in New Zealand too. You should have an equal chance of advancing to the top. "
He added: "There are many Indian, Sri Lankan and Pakistani boys who play cricket here now, including women. There are many options, but whether they have made it to the top is the question. Over the years, do we have kids sporadically, but when they get to the international level I don't think they get the same chances. This will be the big test of New Zealand cricket. How can you build on that (Ajaz 'achievement)?
"People like Ajaz are inspiring. They will encourage a lot more Indian children to say that nothing can stop us. I'll keep an eye on young weirdos and hope that there are a lot more opportunities."
Recalling his time as a cricketer, Dipak, who played 37 Tests and 76 ODIs in the 1980s and 1990s, said, “I am happy to say that it wasn't easy for me. It didn't stop me any stronger. I would never give up because I wasn't given the same chance. It made me stronger. Ajaz himself would agree that he will not see this as an obstacle. "
At a time when World Cricket in England is wavering under allegations of racism and discrimination against players of Asian origin, is there discrimination against cricketers of Asian origin in New Zealand? Dipak refused to respond. "I don't want to start opening wounds here," he quipped. "I won't make such statements. We're a minority and it's much more difficult to get recognition. I think Ajaz's performance will help young Asians gain recognition in the future."
He credited the replacement skipper Tom Latham for persevering with the left spinner. "I have to mention here that Tom Latham, the skipper, deserves a lot of credit. He has shown a lot of patience with Ajaz and bowled him for a long time."
He is confident that Ajaz's performance in the ongoing Mumbai Test, which bagged 14 wickets, will help them run the team longer. "He should be an integral part of the team after yesterday's performance (December 4th). The question is how much more cricket he will play for New Zealand. He's only in his early 30s (33) and could play." for another seven to eight years. There's nothing that can stop him when opportunities are given to play regularly. "