His performance at the international level does not do justice to the sort of asset Samit Patel is to any team. In his sporadic England career, the allrounder scored a little over 800 runs, but has been a consistent performer for Nottinghamshire, His association with the club is set to extend past two decades, having signed a new two-year deal.
Speaking of his journey with his childhood club, Patel in a chat with Cricket.com said, “Starting off with age groups, going through the system and finally getting a professional contract at 16 years old and if someone would have told me that I’d have a long-lasting career like this, I probably would have said no."
“To have an affiliation with the club for 20 years now is very special for me. Staying at such a club, a big club for so many years is really a proud moment for me. Hopefully, there’s a lot more trophies to win going forward,” he added.
Patel, who played his 300th T20 on Friday (December 9), firmly believes that England have a good enough squad to win the two upcoming T20 World Cups, but adds that Jos Buttler’s role in the team will be crucial.
“We have a lot of firepower up top and we have some finishers. I think it’ll depend on whether we bat Jos Buttler in the right position for England to finish strongly. But I’m sure Eoin [Morgan] and the boys will know which positions they will go in at. We do have variety in our bowling – we have a lot of options: We have pace with Jofra [Archer], I think Adil Rashid has been a standout for England in the middle-overs taking wickets alongside Moeen Ali. I feel we have a great chance,” the allrounder said.
Patel in the past has been criticised for his lack of fitness, which has seen him kept out of the England squad. While acknowledging the same, Patel feels that it is important to keep up with the current set of players. “Obviously there were some issues, they have been resolved. To be in leagues around the world you have to be up to the mark, speed-wise. There’s some young pups who want to come chasing on your tails, so you got to try and stay with those guys. There’s also some gym work you need to do and stay strong and hopefully hit the ball out of the park. Nothing too major. Just trying to stay up to date with the current guys,” Patel added.
With the current situation around the world, cricket took a backseat for some time, but it seems to be well on track with many international matches and franchise T20 cricket being played. However, there’s little doubt that the risk of COVID-19 still looms large and for many players, staying in a bio-secure bubble, away from their families, away from their homes has certainly taken a toll.
Since international cricket resumed, the One-Day International (ODI) leg of England’s tour of South Africa took a major hit with members from both sides testing positive for coronavirus and hence became the first series to get cancelled. Patel, who is currently in Sri Lanka, representing Dambulla Viking in the inaugural Lanka Premier League (LPL) reckons that there should be a cap on the time players spend in quarantine so that it does not affect them mentally.
“It’s very sad that the tour got cancelled. I think player safety is more important, players’ mental health is more important. Being in bubbles and camps is very tough. Mentally, if you look at the quarantine periods, especially in Australia, New Zealand, that mentally is tough. I’m not sure how the guys have got through that. But credit to those guys,” Patel opined
“Do I think it’s healthy? Probably not. I think there should be a limit on quarantine periods. Round about seven days should be the maximum that someone should go without getting fresh air, even that’s too much to not get fresh air in a bubble, being in quarantine it’s pretty bad. It obviously can do some damage, but credit to the guys who have got through it,” he further added.
Talking about the LPL, Patel has scored 179 runs at a strike-rate of 139.84 from eight matches in the tournament so far, which also includes a fifty. With the ball, he has picked up seven wickets at an economy rate of a little over eight.
Patel says he is happy to see the local talent in Sri Lanka and has picked out his skipper Dasun Shanaka as an exceptional talent. “I’m very happy with the Lanka Premier League. The local guys have been good. (Wanindu) Hasaranga from Jaffna Stallions has been the standout for me, he has knocked me over twice. Dasun Shanaka is an exceptional talent for Sri Lankan cricket. They have to be nurtured in the right way. Talent-wise it’s been outstanding,” Patel said.