Ex-Black Cap revealed as architect of "ball of the 21st century"

Publish Date
Sunday, 2 May 2021, 11:18AM


It has been revealed that former Black Caps bowler Jeetan Patel has played a crucial role in a dismissal that's been described as "the ball of the 21st century".

In mid-April up-and-coming English county bowler Matt Parkinson bowled a delivery that rivals Shane Warne's famous leg break to dismiss Mike Gatting in 1993.

Parkinson bowled Northamptonshire's Adam Rossington with a ball that pitched well outside leg-stump, only to turn sharply and hit the top of off-stump, stunning teammates and creating a viral sensation as replays of the wicket hit social media.

Now, The Daily Telegraph has revealed that Patel - appointed in March as England's first ever full-time spin bowling coach - worked with Parkinson over the most recent English winter specifically to develop his ability to miss bats.

Parkinson, who made his international debut against New Zealand in 2019, faced criticism at the time over a perceived lack of pace and had his technique thoroughly dissected by critics and pundits around the world.

"I'm sure you will ask about it," he told the Telegraph. He admits he was stubborn to change what had worked for him but has added the ability to produce extra pace through the air to his bowling after working with Patel.

"I'm not sure it was the ball of century just yet," he says. "I tried to fire it in quite quick. He had been sweeping me quite well but the work I have done in the winter meant I could fire it through a bit quicker and it just clipped the edge of the rough.

"As soon as he went back I thought I'm good here. Luckily it pitched six inches outside leg and hit off."

As well as working with Parkinson on varying the pace of his deliveries, Patel had him bowl numerous net sessions to England's best ever player of spin, Joe Root.

That work seems to have paid off for Parkinson who is now back in the England selector's minds ahead of tests against New Zealand and India in 2021.

Patel played 24 Tests for New Zealand, his opportunities limited by the presence of Daniel Vettori, and forged a successful career in county cricket bowling off spin for Warwickshire.

He has worked extensively with England's spin bowling contingent over the English winter and has been credited with helping the side's premier spinner, Moeen Ali, rediscover his form.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission