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India vs New Zealand: Harshal Patel makes international debut after sensational IPL 2021 performance for RCB

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30-year-old Haryana fast bowler Harshal Patel is all set to make his India debut in the 2nd T20I between India and New Zealand in Ranchi on Friday. Harshal was part of the team huddle before the toss at the JSCA International Stadium Complex and got his India cap from former India fast bowler and commentator, Ajit Agarkar.

Harshal Patel has been waiting in the wings for quite some time but his performances in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 made it impossible for the senior national selectors to look past him.

This is the second time in the ongoing T20I series that India have a debutant. In the Jaipur T20I, Kolkata Knight Riders star Venkatesh Iyer made his India debut. Harshal replaced Mohammed Siraj, who suffered a finger injury in the series opener on Wednesday.

Harshal is also the 6th oldest T20I debutant for India after 38y 232d Rahul Dravid (33y 221 days), Sachin Tendulkar
(31 years 177 days), Sreenath Aravind (31 years, 44 days), Stuart Binny (31years, 39 days), Murali Karthik (30 years 361 days).

IND vs NZ, 2nd T20I Live Updates from Ranchi

Harshal Patel picked up 32 wickets in the sensational IPL 2021 season wherein he picked up 32 wickets, equaling Dwayne Bravo’s all-time record for the most wickets in a single IPL season. Harshal picked up a 5-wicket haul as well a 4-wicket haul as he used his variations at the death wonderfully well to trouble opposition teams. Harshal played a key role in helping Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore reach the play-offs.

Harshal pushed the door of selection after the IPL 2021 performance but he has been a prolific performer for Haryana in the domestic circuit as well. The 30-year-old had picked up 52 wickets in the Ranji Trophy 2019-20 season, proving his exploits with the red-ball as well.

Harshal Patel has played 64 first-class maches and picked up 226 wickets at an average of 23.56. He has 12 5-wicket hauls and 4 10-wicket hauls in first-class cricket. He has played 116 T20s and picked up 138 wickets at an impressive econmy rate of less than 8. In 57 List A games, Harshal has 80 wickets.

In the IPL, Harshal has played 63 matches and picked up 78 wickets. After the 2015 season wherein he picked up 17 wickets, he went through a lull in the IPL but roared back to foirm in IPL 2021 for RCB.

“He has been rewarded for consistent performances over the years and he will cherish this moment for quite a long time,” former India pacer Irfan Pathan told Star Sports, congratulating Harshal.

“I hope he becomes Purple Patel. We don’t have that kind of an award in international cricket. But I hope he just keeps performing and taking wickets,” he added.

India playing XI for 2nd T20I vs New Zealand: KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma (captain), Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel.

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