Ajaz Patel replaces injured Matt Kuhnemann to join Durham for County Championship

Matt Kuhnemann suffered a back injury in April during a Division Two game against Glamorgan.

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Ajaz Patel
Ajaz Patel. (Photo Source: Twitter/Blackcaps)

New Zealand's Ajaz Patel, a left-arm spin bowler, has been announced as a replacement in Durham's squad for the County Championship Division Two 2023 for Matthew Kuhnemann, who is currently unavailable owing to a back injury, which he sustained during a game against Glamorgan, last month. The Australian had been in the buzz of late after his sensational debut against India in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023. Notably, the debutant had bagged nine wickets in three matches and was influential in his side's victory in the Third Test in Indore.

It has been reported that Patel will join Durham's squad ahead of their encounter against Yorkshire, a team with which he made his county debut. While the reports also suggest that the 34-year-old will be available with the squad for at most seven games, he will assume the role of specialist spinner in the squad, since Matt Parkinson is not with the team any more.

“I've thoroughly enjoyed county cricket every time I have had the opportunity to play and I am really excited and grateful to be joining Durham. I have heard a lot of great things about the club, can't wait to get over there and get stuck in!” Patel was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.

In the same vein, Durham's Director of Cricket, Marcus North said, “With the loss of Matt Kuhnemann, it was important that we brought in a spinner that will continue to strengthen and balance our red ball side, and with the addition of Ajaz this should enable us to continue to be effective in all conditions.”

“We are excited to have secured the signing of another international spinner in Ajaz Patel. Ajaz is proven in international cricket with New Zealand and has performed successfully around the world,” North concluded.

Ajaz Patel is only the Third bowler to scalp ten wickets in an innings of a Test match

Meanwhile, the Bombay-born (now Mumbai) has also been doing well in the international circuit for the BlackCaps, as he has 48 wickets in 14 games at a healthy average of 31.45. His First-Class stats are also equally justifying as he has taken over 300 wickets in 88 matches that he featured in for Central Districts. He garnered immense limelight after his exceptional performance against India on a home tour, where he bagged all 10 wickets of the opposition, making him the first bowler from New Zealand and third overall to achieve this unique feat. Notably, the other two are the former Englishman, Jim Laker, and former Indian leg spinner, Anil Kumble.

Speaking of County Championship Division Two, Durham are sitting comfortably at the top of the points table, having won two out of four games that they played, with a draw and a solitary loss against Sussex. Durham's next fixture is against Yorkshire which will begin on Thursday, May 11, at the Riverside Ground, in Chester-le-Street.

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