IND vs NZ: Harshal Patel becomes sixth oldest India debutant, receives maiden T20I cap from Ajit Agarkar
Harshal’s is the second debut India have awarded in as many games this series, having handed Venkatesh Iyer his cap only a couple of days ago in Jaipur.
Updated - Nov 19, 2021 9:09 pm
Harshal Patel became the sixth oldest T20I debutant for India when he received his maiden cap by former India pacer Ajit Agarkar on November 19 ahead of the second T20I against New Zealand in Ranchi. Included in the team as a replacement of pacer Mohammed Siraj, who split his webbing in the series-opener in Jaipur, Patel made his debut at the age of 30 years and 361 days.
Despite coming so late into the national fray, the call-up is certainly a well-earned one: Patel bagged the Purple Cup for scalping 32 wickets with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2021 IPL, which included a fifer and hat-trick. He was especially impeccable at the death, using his many variations including the slower ones and cutters that the best of batters found difficult getting away with.
En route to his chart-topping performance, he came agonizingly close to eclipsing Dwayne Bravo’s 2013 32-wicket tally for most wickets in a season, although he could only equal it as Devdutt Padikkal dropped Sunil Narine in the last over of his spell in the Eliminator against Kolkata Knight Riders, which RCB lost to mark an end to their 2021 campaign.
Quite remarkably, Patel’s performance was recognized by Bravo himself, who had tweeted: “Congratulations @harshalvp 23. You definitely deserve to go on top!! Great to watch!”
Patel’s 32 wickets, however, were easily the best for an Indian bowler in a single IPL season, surpassing Jasprit Bumrah’s 27 from the 2020 edition.
On November 19, BCCI took it to their official Twitter to congratulate the medium-pacer on his day: “Congratulations to @HarshalPatel23 who is set to make his #TeamIndia debut. @Paytm #INDvNZ.”
Harshal’s is the second debut India have awarded in as many games this series, having handed Venkatesh Iyer his cap only a couple of days ago in Jaipur, when India defeated New Zealand by five wickets to gain a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
Much like Patel, Iyer had an impressive IPL season with KKR, amassing 370 runs at 41.11 from 10 games to force the selectors to take notice of him. After the two debuts, Avesh Khan remains to be the only uncapped player left in the squad.
— BCCI (@BCCI) November 19, 2021
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