New Zealand spin-bowler Jeetan Patel has revealed that he “would love to keep coming back” to become a longer-term member of Warwickshire’s squad as overseas player.
Patel is in his third spell with the Bears but his first full season and has had a huge impact so far. Ahead of the match against Surrey starting at Edgbaston tomorrow he has already taken 34 Championship wickets including four hauls of five-wickets or more, most recently harvesting a career best seven for 75 against Somerset at Taunton last week.
Patel has also delivered one match-winning salvo with the bat, in the opening match against Somerset at Edgbaston. Significantly, he is also a highly popular member of the dressing room and is spoken of in the highest terms by team-mates and coaches alike. Overseas recruits come in many guises and display varying levels of interest in the club and their team-mates. But 30-year-old Patel has embraced Warwickshire as a team and a club as fully as did the likes of Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock.
His bond with the Bears quickly deepened. And he would be very happy if it also lengthens.
“Warwickshire want to win sessions and games and Championships and that’s how I play my cricket,” Patel said. “With this being my third spell I have really got to know the boys and they are a great bunch of lads.
“Warwickshire is a great club, a big club which has been around for a long time with a great ground so everything is very exciting. They are very accommodating for my wife and I and I would love to keep coming back.
“I love being here but of course it depends on where the club wants to go. They might want a spinner next season or they might want a top-order batsman in which case I will totally understand but I would love to come back to I just need to keep taking wickets and helping win games”
In theory, there is no reason why Patel, still relatively young for a spinner, could not be connected to Warwickshire for some years to come, though one possible snag could come by virtue of his own success. A major plus behind the Bears signing him this year was his availability for the entire year after he lost his central contract with New Zealand and drifted out of the international set-up.
But he has far from given up on forcing his way back in and adding to his 11 Tests, the most recent of which was against Zimbabwe at Bulawayo last November.
“I would love to play for New Zealand again,” Patel said. “If they called me tomorrow to say come to the West Indies I would be all over them. I really want to play Test cricket.
“The one thing I really miss in my career is that I have only won a few Tests in my 11 games because winning Test matches is just a great feeling. As a kid it’s what you want to do and when you get a little bit older you want to keep excelling and, of course, earning more money just like in any other business.
“That’s where I want to be, putting on the Silver Fern and playing for New Zealand. If not, I’m happy to bide my time playing for Warwickshire and Wellington. It would be a shame for me to finish my career on only 11 Test matches but I have probably got to do better at home in New Zealand, which my bowling is seen the most, like I am doing here at Warwickshire.”
In the immediate term, Patel’s objective is to get among the wickets against Surrey over the next four days when the Bears will strive to complete a double over opposition they beat by five wickets at The Oval earlier this season. He would no doubt be happy to emulate the part played by fellow overseas twirler Lance Gibbs when Surrey visited Edgbaston in 1972.
The West Indian’s second innings four for 66 against John Edrich’s side sped the Bears towards a nine-wicket victory which took them a big step closer to lifting the title that year.