Enjoy being a match-winner: Samit Patel
Samit Patel’s late onslaught against India in the first ODI was one of the key reasons why the visitors got off to a winning start in the five-match series, and thereby ensuring they don’t suffer a 0-5 drubbing like they had on their two previous tours to India.
Speaking about his quick fire 20-ball 40-run knock, which turned out to be decisive in the end, Patel said, “It’s always good to get a good knock, especially when the team’s winning. It is good to contribute to a winning team.”
“I have enjoyed the role, absolutely. It was versatile. I am doing it for the team really. Whatever suits the skipper, and everyone in the team is willing to come in and do whatever it needs to win,” he said.
So, when asked if he sees if he sees himself as a potential match-winner, Patel said, “I have got a pretty versatile role in the team; could come in at No.4, 7, 6. I’m happy to do that. But we’ve got a lot of big hitters in our team – Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Craig Kieswetter, even [Alastair Cook] Cookey now. So, no, we just got to keep believing and do the right stuff.”
Talking about the morale-boosting win at Rajkot, he said, “To win the first ODI in Rajkot, it’s fantastic. We knew how crucial it was, we needed the boys ready. But what a great win! What a great start!”
Patel, who was part of the England teams in 2008 and 2011 that lost to India, said, “We came here and not won a warm-up game, which is quite disappointing. To play India in 2008, that was quite demoralising. We got good scores and they knocked them off, and they got good scores and we didn’t get anywhere near them. It shows you how good this England team is right now and how much we’re learning from each other out here.”
“We played ten ODIs here and lost all ten. But it’s just great to get a win. And people sometimes don’t realise how much of an effort it takes to beat these guys out here,” he added.
“It’s kind of a snowball effect [the Test team winning, and then the ODI win in Rajkot] really. The Test series win was outstanding, took a lot of courage, desire, hard work. And it’s kind of saying Cookie is some leader, and it’s good to be part of it. And I think we can achieve it, if we stay calm and levelheaded and take each game as it comes. And if we do the basics right, and if we just look to be positive and back our own ability, we’re going to have a good chance.”
Hoping to carry forward the winning momentum and speaking about the next match on January 15, Patel said, “We are just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Stick to the basics, simple plans, keep calm. We’re in good spirits, but it’s also good to stay levelheaded, certainly at 1-0.”
When asked England’s modest ODI performance in India in the past, he observed, “They’re good players in their own backyards, and they play good one-day cricket around the world, especially here. They dominate cricket, they dominate spinners. They dominate cricket in general, they have a good formula on how to play cricket, and their spinners come into play. But, I think the way we learned how to play their spinners is outstanding, credit to us as a team. Because in past tours we struggled, but it just shows that if you put the hard yards and you learn, you get rewards.”
While discussing the new rules in one-day cricket and how they affect the spinners, Patel who chips in with left-arm spin, said, “On spinners doing well under new fielding restriction rules, contrary to perception. I’m not quite sure, really. Five fielders in the ring makes it hard for all bowlers. But I think the spinners point of view is, we’re always going to be the underdog, and expected to be hit. I think that sometimes that can play in your hands. Saeed Ajmal does it exceptionally well, James Tredwell was excellent the other night. So, I think spinners have doing more and more in the game, regardless of what wicket we’re playing. And I think they have a big role in one-day cricket, and T20 cricket.”
About having missed the last Test against India, Patel said, “It was a blow actually. But as I said, that’s cricket. People get opportunities and [Joe] Root did outstanding and contributed to a draw, which meant we won the series. It’s always good, healthy competition. It keeps you on your toes really, knowing you need to put in performances on a regular basis to get the best out of players.”
So is he worried that Test opportunities will be limited in the future? Patel said that he wasn’t sure and added, “I haven’t given up, don’t think the selectors have given up. I just have to put in the hard yards back home and see where we go from there. There is a long way between now and the Ashes, or the New Zealand series. I’m certainly not ruling myself out.”
When asked whether there are chances of him participating in the IPL, he said, “Well, it is one of the best leagues in the world and all the best players in the world play in the IPL. So, let’s see, why not. But not this time […].”