‘Wow! More chocolate! ‘
The whole family left India and moved to New Zealand in search of fortune. How much uncertainty, how much anxiety! Little Ejaz is tired of thinking about it. You have seen from a young age that when a gift comes home from a relative in New Zealand, it contains more chocolate. From kiwi chocolate to lolly how much more!
In 1997, when her parents were planning to move to New Zealand with Ejaz, all the uncertainties and anxieties overwhelmed her and she wanted to get more chocolate. Mumbai’s Manda-Mithai likes that the boy has spent his childhood, he will not be happy to get more chocolates abroad – why not!
Ejaz’s childhood was spent in uncertainty. Mom was a schoolteacher, Dad worked in a car shop. Ejaz’s father, who had previously worked in other shops, later opened his own shop in West Auckland. Hard work did not diminish at all. Not being able to speak fluent English like the Kiwis was a death knell for me. Although Ejaz and his mother were fluent in English, their father was not fluent in a foreign language. Ejaz’s father had hoped that his son would work hard all day and face thousands of adversities.
But not education, cricket has settled in Ejaz’s hole till then. As long as he was in Mumbai, he spent as much time outside the school as he could on the field. He used to come down with a bat and shoes to play. Coming to New Zealand was no exception. Seeing the talent of the boy playing cricket with joy in his mind, his uncle and aunt admitted him in a local cricket academy. In school cricket, he got the opportunity to play for the ‘Western Districts’.
He got a chance to prove himself in the first over. In the first two deliveries of the new ball, the opposing batsman suffered quite well. Ejaz’s courage increased a little when he saw the batsman eating khabi. This time he tried to beat with a bouncer. But what a key! The batsman hit a six hard. Ejaz has never eaten such a big six in his short career, he later admitted in various interviews.
After digesting the six, the mood is naturally bad. Excluding the ball in the middle of the over, Ejaz went to look for the ball – looking for the ball, maybe it seemed that pace bowling is not his commo! The name of the batsman needs to be announced at this stage.
Not that pace bowling used to be that bad. In his second tournament in Under-19 cricket, he became the joint highest wicket-taker with Tim Southee. But despite that, the coaches saw some shortcomings in his bowling. You can’t force the ball too hard, you can’t pitch the ball with too much force — there were complaints about that. Ejaz was clearly told how much louder the ball could be with a height of five feet eight inches!
In the end, those shortcomings became tomorrow, the youth team did not get a chance. By that time, Ejaz had also started spinning tuk-tuk. Due to not getting a chance in the youth team, he decided to become a spinner from a pace bowler. Who knew that decision would open the door for him in a few years? Will bring global recognition and respect?
But once the decision is made, the biggest problem of becoming a spinner from a pacer is that you have to start all over again. Another new industry has to be mastered from the beginning. In this fight ‘Arjun’ Ejaz’s ‘Dronacharya’ is another Patel-Deepak. The spinner played 38 Tests and 65 ODIs for the Kiwis in the 1980s and 1990s. This is not what Ejaz used to teach Deepak every day. Ejaz used to teach small things every few weeks.
In the meantime, he continued to try to play for Auckland in first-class cricket. In Auckland, spinners like Bhupinder Singh and Bruce Martin are playing. As a result, Ejaz did not have a place. He moved to the Central District. In first-class cricket, at least he didn’t have to look back. He became the highest wicket-taker in domestic cricket for two consecutive seasons.