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29 October 201303:30

Q & A with Dipak Patel

The last time Australia and New Zealand co-hosted the ICC Cricket World Cup, in 1992, Dipak Patel was one of the Kiwis’ shining lights.

Q & A with Dipak Patel - Cricket News

22 Feb 1992: New Zealand celebrate as Allan Border of Australia is caught by Chris Cairns off the bowling of Dipak Patel (right) during the World Cup match at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. New Zealand won by 37 runs. \ Mandatory Credit: Allsport UK/Allsport

Born in Kenya, Patel migrated from Worcestershire to New Zealand, making his international debut in both Test and One-Day International formats as a batsman in early 1987.

He went on to play in three ICC Cricket World Cups, 37 Tests and 75 one day matches, but it was in New Zealand’s 1992 campaign that Dipak really made a name for himself.

New Zealand reached the semi-finals and Patel opened the bowling with his off-spin, finishing as the tournament’s most economical bowler.

We managed to catch up with Dipak to talk about his experiences at the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992, and what he’s looking forward to in 2015.

How do you reflect on the ICC Cricket World Cup in 1992?
The ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 stands out as the most satisfying of all the three World Cups I personally played in. Playing in NZ and performing well in front of family, friends and the New Zealand public was an experience and memory I will never forget.

When you first found out that you would be opening the bowling, what was your reaction and how much did you enjoy it?
Initially, I was very anxious. I was approached two days before the opening World Cup game at training at Eden Park by Warren Lees and Martin Crowe, saying it could be a possibility that I may be opening the bowling in the opening game against Australia. It was confirmed the night before the game at the team meeting. After the success in the Aussie game, my outlook and confidence grew immensely, and my anxiety was transferred into confidence and belief. As the World Cup progressed, our successes with an unorthodox approach to the game created a winning culture within the team, and this was something very special to be a part of.

What were your best moments from the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992?
In terms of playing - watching the best batsman in the world Martin Crowe scoring runs, beating the top seeded nations, and my personal contributions are my standout memories.

Bowling well and taking wickets at the top of the order with the calibre of batsman on display - we're talking the likes of Allan Border, Ian Botham, Kris Srikkanth - and ending up as the tournament's most economical bowler in the 1992 World Cup, is definitely a memorable moment.

Performances aside, the way the whole country embraced the World Cup and supported our success was phenomenal.

How heart-breaking was it losing to Pakistan in the semi-final? What was the mood like in the dressing room after you posted a really good total of 262?
It was devastating and incomprehensible. Although we'd lost to them in the last round robin game, we were confident - even more so once we had posted a very competitive total.

While Martin Crowe had been injured, his innings was inspirational and it was obvious that the whole squad drew on this.

Being a spinner, how big a role do you see the spinners playing in New Zealand at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015?
In preceding World Cups, records have proven that spinners have played a major and instrumental part in winning the tournament. I don't foresee that changing in 2015, even though wickets in New Zealand are of a higher standard.

How excited are you about the World Cup returning to New Zealand, and what the world can expect from your beautiful country?
I must admit until the launch in Wellington I hadn't even thought about it being staged in New Zealand and Australia.

During the opening, the juices started to flow again. I have no doubt the New Zealand sporting public will embrace it the only way they know how - the 1992 Cricket World Cup and the Rugby World Cup are great examples. As for the rest of the world, they will get to experience the beautiful landscapes that New Zealand has to offer, coupled with the friendly and welcoming hospitality that the people of New Zealand are renowned for.