Page 32 - 10942_covered 32pp-winter11 ONLINE.indd

SEO Version

Having been welcomed back into the
international fold, Samit Patel is more than
happy to talk about his cricket at a time
when his cricket is doing all of the talking.
From November 2008 to July 2011,
the Nottinghamshire all-rounder didn’t
play a single One Day International and
endured countless questions probing his
off-field application despite a solid England
playing record.
Now though, he is very much in the
selectors’ thoughts and has set his sights
on the second spinner role in tandem with
clubmate Graeme Swann.
“I certainly feel that I can contribute to
the Test side although Swanny is well
established and I’ll have to play behind him
as a second spinner,” he said.
“We bowl very well together and if England
need a second spinner then I’m ready to do
the job.”
Swann’s success since establishing himself
as an international mainstay in all formats
won’t have escaped Patel who made his first
eight One Day International appearances
as the solitary England spinner. The duo
played together for the final three ODIs in
India in 2008 before Patel was omitted and
Swann seized his opportunity.
“The 2008 tour was a big learning experience
for me and I tried to apply what I learned
and felt more comfortable,” said Patel.
“I missed three years of international
cricket through my own fault but I loved
every minute of that tour despite the
disappointment of losing the series.
“Playing against Sachin Tendulkar, Verender
Sehwag and Zahir Khan in 2008 was fantastic
and the side we faced in 2011 was very
different but they still found ways to beat us.”
Patel performed well on tour, most
notably in Mohali where his explosive 70
in an unbeaten 103-run partnership with
Jonathan Trott set up a tense finale as India
secured an unassailable 3-0 series lead with
victory in the final over.
“There is constant pressure for places and
my partnership with Jonathan was the sort
of innings that I need to produce to stay in
the team,” he said.
“Andy Flower had given me the opportunity
to bat in the power play whichwas something
that I wanted to do. I had no fear because I
had the licence to be aggressive and playing
without fear was something that I learned
during Stephen Fleming’s time at Notts.”
Back on English soil, albeit without the dirt
bike he won as man of the match in Mohali
(“I couldn’t get it home!”), Patel cites the
challenge of adapting to conditions on the
sub-continent as a reason for England’s
struggles having previously outclassed the
Indians in the home series.
“The wickets were quite flat over there and
didn’t really suit spin bowlers but I felt that
I had some control,” he said.
“There was an obvious home advantage
though because Dhoni marshalled his
troops very well. All cricketers know how to
play in their own backyard but we’ll go back
there next winter better for the experience
that we’ve had and the same goals will apply
in that we’ll target winning the series.”
Patel has now returned to training with the
Nottinghamshire squad and has targeted
both an LV= County Championship
challenge and a Test debut in 2012.
“I’m happy with the way that I performed
last season but there are no guarantees in
cricket,” he said.
“There is a trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai
to face Pakistan before the English summer
and I want to be involved in that so hopefully
I’ve done enough.
“At Notts,we want towin the Championship
again and our recruitment has centred on
improving the batting and retaining the
strength of the bowling. We fell short of
our own expectations in the Championship
last year and we need to take responsibility
as individuals and collectively to mount a
challenge whilst remaining competitive in
the one day competitions.
“I want to play Test cricket hopefully very
soon so I’ll be listening when the squads
are announced after Christmas with my
fingers crossed.”
ReturnTo Action
Final over: samit patel
Keeping good company: MS Dhoni
looks on as Samit hits out