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Wiser Patel relishing second chance

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/03/2017
Jeetan Patel of New Zealand warms up to bowl during day two of the First Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at University Oval on March 9, 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand. © Dianne Manson/Getty Images Jeetan Patel of New Zealand warms up to bowl during day two of the First Test match between New Zealand and South Africa at University Oval on March 9, 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand.

A revitalised Jeetan Patel has had the wood on South Africa's Quinton de Kock this summer but dismisses any suggestion of voodoo.

In Dunedin, in his first home Test in seven years, the 36-year-old off-spinner got the wicket of big-hitting de Kock twice cheaply . He also twice got him in the one-day internationals.

"I probably got a bit lucky in the first two ODIs," Patel said after play.

"The two wickets here were spinning deliveries... I'm not going to say that there's a voodoo or anything going on there."

Patel has so far bowled nearly twice as many overs in the match as regular first-choice spinner Mitchell Santner, but he puts that down to how many left-handers are in the South African side.

His shouldering of the slow bowling load is a remarkable come-back for a player who debuted in 2006 but was dropped following the thrashing in South Africa in 2013.

He went to play for Warwickshire, where he twice won the award for most valuable player in county cricket.

He also turned down a chance in 2014 to play for New Zealand in the West Indies to maintain his standing with Warwickshire.

However, he didn't turn down the offer to play against India last year.

"I didn't plan to play for New Zealand again. I am not going to lie but when the stars align it's beautiful.

"You get an opportunity to make up for lost time."

He credits playing so much cricket for Warwickshire for improving his game.

"It's taxing but it's meant that my cricket, I believe, in terms of my bowling has got a lot better, my smarts are a lot better.

"I'm also understanding how to enjoy my days off because it used to be just training."

He said he knew he wasn't going to be in the New Zealand side forever.

"So I'm enjoying every moment I've got.

"To come back and play Test cricket again in New Zealand is pretty special."

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