Coming into the Blackcaps side in place of the injured Mitchell Santner, Ajaz Patel is making his first Test appearance in the UK at Edgbaston.
He does so with experience and success on UK shores under his belt. Prior to his short stint in county cricket in 2019 – his two Championship games yielded just one wicket – Patel dominated Surrey club cricket while already an active Test cricketer.
In fact, Patel played Test cricket later that summer, taking nine wickets in New Zealand’s drawn two-Test series in Sri Lanka.
Before he made the trip to Sri Lanka, Patel was utterly dominant for Cranleigh CC in Division One of the Surrey Championship, the second tier of club cricket in the county.
In 13 league games, Patel took 56 wickets at 8.43; he took seven five-wicket hauls in that period. A spell in July saw Patel claim 6-41, 6-37 and 7-26 on consecutive Saturdays. Unsurprisingly, Cranleigh, which is also the club where Ollie Pope came through, finished second in the league and won promotion to the Surrey Championship Premier Division.
His season with Cranleigh was cut short by his call up for the Sri Lanka series. He was then picked up by Yorkshire, replacing Keshav Maharaj as the county’s overseas player for the final County Championship games of the 2019 season.
Commenting on this move to the county, he referenced his spell at Cranleigh. “I came over to play at Cranleigh CC this winter, hopefully with the opportunity to pick up some county cricket while I was over here,” said Patel at the time. “But I obviously got called into the New Zealand squad for the Sri Lanka Tests while I was over there. It all happened pretty quickly from there, I got the call and jumped at the opportunity really.”