Cricket: Ajaz Patel hopes to end Blackcaps exile on upcoming test tour of England

After a home summer watching the Blackcaps from the sidelines, spinner Ajaz Patel hopes next month's tour of England will allow him to wear the silver fern on his chest once again.

Patel, 33, made history late last year by becoming the first New Zealander and just the third player ever to take all 10 wickets in a test innings, doing so against India at Mumbai.

But because of the Blackcaps' strength in the four-pronged seam attack of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson, Patel hasn't played for the Blackcaps since.

Ajaz Patel is congratulated.
Ajaz Patel is congratulated. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

Even when Boult was ruled out of New Zealand's two test series against South Africa, Matt Henry stepped into the Blackcaps side, with no room for spin in Kiwi conditions.

Helping Patel's case this time around though, is his record in England. 

In his one and only test played on English soil, Patel took figures of 4/59 with the ball to help the Blackcaps to an eight-wicket victory at Birmingham last year, as a second string New Zealand side took an away win over England for the third time in history.

And included in the Blackcaps' extended 20-man squad for the three test tour of England, Patel hopes conditions will fall in his favour for the chance to return to the side.

"I think as a cricketer, being in the squad and knowing you're in with a chance to play, you get quite itchy," Patel said. "You want to play every time you're out there.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity. Having been to England last year for the first time, that was a lot of fun. 

Patel has struggled for game time since his history-making efforts.
Patel has struggled for game time since his history-making efforts. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

"You know what the crowd is like over there, how involved they get and how passionate they are about cricket.

"For me, it's about representing New Zealand and having another chance to do that. Being in the squad is great for me and gives me an opportunity to put my best foot forward.

"Hopefully, hopefully, they can prepare some flat wickets that might turn a little bit, and I can get involved."

New Zealand faces England at Lord's starting June 2, before travelling to Nottingham's Trent Bridge, then Leeds' Headingley.

And with the series opener being staged at the home of cricket, Patel is hoping to tick a test match at Lord's off his cricketing bucket list.

"Last year was a lot of fun in terms of England, and the World Test Championship final over there.

"And playing in England always has a different feel about it. It's a special place to play cricket.

"The tour kicks off at Lord's, which is every cricketer's dream. I'm yet to tick the playing part off.

"Fingers crossed this time I might get lucky."