Because they were Muslims of Indian descent living in New Zealand, Patel and his family felt the full impact of the brazen attack. It was a Friday, March 15, 2019. Ajaz had just returned home after offering prayers at the mosque when news of a gunman broke out in a massacre at two mosques in Christchurch.
Recalling the “climate of fear” after the bloody incident, the left arm spinner narrated what went through the minds of his community and how the people of New Zealand came together to make them feel safe and welcome after the attack. Speaking in Hindi in an online media interaction on Tuesday, Bombay-born Ajaz said: “The terrorist attack had a huge impact on the Muslim community living there. It was a climate of fear. “The news came just after we returned home from the mosque on Friday. But the way our players, the prime minister and the whole community responded, we lovingly felt included.”
Recalling a beautiful humanitarian gesture from his neighbors that made the 33-year-old and his family feel safe and loved in New Zealand at a time when they needed that peace of mind, Ajaz said, “For example, no “There’s no problem when my mother leaves. The house with a burkha. Nobody will say anything. When the terrorist attack happened, our new house was being built. We visited it often. So our neighbors had to see us.” and they realized that we were Muslims of the burkha. So people have a strong sense of belonging and live together as a great community. ”
At a time when English cricket has been “outraged” by allegations of racism made by British Asian cricketer Azeem Rafiq, Ajaz gave New Zealand a high rating on the inclusion scale. “Now we talk about diversity and racism from a sports perspective, but I don’t think it’s something that has influenced me so much in my culture, but in this or in my education, but I won’t say it doesn’t exist.
“Actually, during my trip I felt very comfortable in New Zealand. I was very, very grateful to the Blackcaps environment as soon as I came and they have been very, very respectful of my culture, my beliefs. , my rituals, as for me if I need halal food, although they will get them from anywhere if necessary, “he said, before giving a more detailed illustration of his point.
“I remember my debut season (in 2018) they sent someone with me to the mosque so I could pray and also to the locker room, so if I have to pray, the guys are very respectful and give me the space and time to pray “, he said.
Many thought that Ajaz, who broke records in abundance when he drew 14-225 in the second round, the best bowling figures in a match against India, was unfairly denied the “Match Player” award to Wankhede, and that honor was for India. the worker Mayank Agarwal to score a century and a fifty.
When asked if he was expecting the “Man of the Match” award after his historic feat, achieved only for the third time in 2,438 trials, Ajaz showed his humility by saying that running after the accolades is not his cup. of you. “By no means. To be honest with you, the praises are something else. I have no real passion or drive for these things. Whoever gets it is obviously the most deserving. (Ravichandran) Ashwin did the series perfectly and “It simply came to our notice then. He also deserves this award (Player of the Series). has said.
Thanks to the compulsions of staying in an organic bubble, Ajaz lost his favorite Indian food: chicken lollipop and Schezwan sauce during the tour, but the tweaker plans to savor them when he returns to India on holiday. “The most important thing during the tour was that I had to play cricket. And that’s why it was essential that I take care of my body. India, then I will definitely enjoy my favorite foods, “he said.
There is speculation that after his magic show, he could take a big contract with an IPL franchise. Ajaz, meanwhile, said no cash collection was expected after his record feat. He only hopes to have inspired Asian-born children back in New Zealand to play cricket, ideally bowling.