Twenty-six-year-old Jeetan Patel is the next hope of spin for New Zealand after Daniel Vettori. No relation of Dipak Patel, the other off-spinner who played for New Zealand in the 1980s and 1990s, Jeetan adapted himself well in his first international in India. His career-best three for 11 in only his 10th ODI, helped New Zealand to victory against South Africa at the Brabourne Stadium on Monday.
In this chat, the Wellington-born speaks of his dreams.
How did you pick up the game?
My father introduced me to cricket. Being an Indian himself, he was very passionate about the game. We started in the backyard in New Zealand and then went on to play for the club when I was five. I played for Wellington schools and state when I was 15 in the under 16, then under-17, under-19 before going to the New Zealand academy. Things started prospering from there. I started as a seamer but took up spin when I was 15. My college team needed a spinner, so I took up the job.
Did Dipak Patel have any impact on your career?
Visually, he had a lot of impact. I am not quite sure because when I started bowling I was not really quite sure how far I was going to go. I think the impulse was seeing Daniel (Vettori) make it early, when he was 19, that was when I was starting to play first class cricket and you think there is a possibility of playing cricket for New Zealand. There were a lot of spinner you can take a lot from -- Daniel, Saqlain (Mushtaq), Harbhajan (Singh). Any input would be great. I feel things are going well at the moment and am just building on what John Bracewell and Daniel are offering to me.
You turned the ball a great deal against South Africa…
The pitch did help. It was turning. I like to consider myself as a bowler who wants to turn the ball. Because the pitch was turning, it probably helped and added a visual to the spectators that it probably turned a lot more than I thought.
Having an off-spinner as a coach (John Bracewell), how much is that helping you?
He is just a confidence builder. He sees things I wouldn't see otherwise. A lot of things John and I do is the on-field stuff, going through the mental processes, trying to think batsmen out. I think we realise that my technique is pretty sound at the moment. It is more about trying to learn more about the international game.
You came to India with the academy side in August 2001 for the Buchi Babu tournament. How much preparation did you do before coming for the Champions Trophy?
It was different surrounding and different pitches in 2001. It was an interesting experience. This time, I just wanted to be confident in my action and have the belief to be able to compete at this level. The wickets over here have helped. They do turn but then you have to be as consistent as you can.
Any areas you feel you are still lacking?
I just want to be a little more consistent. That is the biggest skill in Test cricket, which is being consistent. You have to turn-up performances day in and day out.