Patel’s stocks rising ahead of Black Caps test championship final

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The Black Caps have given a further hint that spinner Ajaz Patel may have played his way into the starting lineup for the world test champions final against India starting at Southampton tomorrow.

Patel has played just nine tests, with all of his 26 wickets coming in the six tests he’s played overseas.

The 32 year old bolted into contention by taking four wickets in last weekend’s second Test win over England.

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New Zealand traditionally take a pace attack into Tests, but Black Caps bowling coach Shane Jurgenson says the English conditions certainly suit Patel.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

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“What we found in previous games (in England) is that we may need to look at other options to consider taking wickets,” said Jurgenson.

He says they’re in an excellent position with so many players in form and so it’s more about who do they leave out.

The Black Caps trimmed their touring squad down to 15 earlier this week.

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Now it’s about who is best suited for the conditions and that could be further complicated by the forecast rain over the next few days.

“At Lord’s it was quite dry and then we went to Edgbaston and it was certainly drier and basically as England does it creates opportunities for things to happen.

“In Edgbaston the conditions certainly played into Ajaz’s hands and he bowled beautifully.”

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Ajaz Patel celebrates taking the wicket of Joe Root with Tom Latham (left) and wicketkeeper Tom Blundell.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

“I’ve been really happy with his progress, he loves cricket, he has a nice handle on his game at the moment and there’s a nice quiet confidence about him.”

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Jurgenson has reiterated that they are still two days out from the start of the game and it’s too early to predict the bowling line-up.

They’ve only had one training session so far in Southampton with Jurgenson saying there is no need to overdo things this week, especially for the bowlers.

So if there is a bit of moisture about does that mean it’ll be bowl first for whoever wins the toss?

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“I think potentially, but I do think it’ll be a call not made until the morning of the game as we don’t know what’s going to happen (with the weather in the next couple of days).

“There is no doubt the challenge for us over the course of the Test match will be to adapt to those changing conditions and that’s what has been fantastic over the first two Test matches (against England) is that we have learnt that things in England can change very quickly.

“One of our strengths in the team is that we pride ourselves on adapting to those conditions and the opposition as quickly as we can.”

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Possible New Zealand playing eleven: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel and Trent Boult.

-RNZ

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