Jeetan Patel will make his Warwickshire debut against Scotland at Edgbaston on Sunday, enabling the Bears to return to their preferred policy of deploying specialist spinners in tandem at a key stage of the opponents’ innings.
Ian Salisbury and Ant Botha were highly effective in one-day cricket and Twenty20 in particular last year, coming on in mid-innings to rein in the run-rate.
Salisbury’s departure from the attack left a big hole which was exposed in Warwickshire’s Friends Provident Trophy opener against Somerset. The visiting batsmen milked the mid-innings bowlers, a process which, in between a boundary-laden start and a ferocious late assault, added up to an easy eight-wicket win for them.
But Patel, who will land in Birmingham on a flight from New Zealand this afternoon, has been recruited to fill the gap left by Salisbury’s abrupt departure.
He has operated effectively in tandem with Daniel Vettori in one-day internationals for New Zealand. Now the Bears hope he will dovetail sweetly with Botha, who found his rhythm in promising fashion last Saturday during a long bowl against Hampshire which would have brought him more than four wickets if his colleagues had caught competently.
Patel’s debut on Sunday is especially welcome for Warwickshire as they will face Scotland with a team heavily depleted by international calls. Ian Bell, Tim Ambrose, Jonathan Trott and Chris Woakes are all playing for England Lions against West Indies at Derby in a four-day match due to finish on Sunday.
“It will be good to have Jeetan with us, especially with so much one-day cricket coming up and especially on Sunday when we have lost four guys to England Lions,” Giles said. “He will add experience to our attack and is a quality bowler.
“I have not played against him or seen him bowl close up but have seen him bowl a lot on television and he is obviously a good player. He has been playing cricket quite recently, so should be all right to come in and perform for us straight away.
“Hopefully he and Ant will work well together. Ant had a very good championship match against Hampshire, scoring 50 and bowled very well. So it gives us nice options with those two.”
n?Keith Barker continued to press his claims to first-team cricket with a three-wicket haul on the opening day of Warwickshire’s 2nd XI Championship match against Yorkshire at Kings Heath.
After hitting an unbeaten half-century with the bat in the Second XI Trophy game on Tuesday, Barker bowled the Bears back towards parity in the last session as a three-day game got under way yesterday.
At tea, Yorkshire were strongly placed on 213 for three but Barker took three wickets in successive overs to even up the contest and the visitors were 335 for nine at the close. Chris Taylor (50) and Gary Vallance (54) added 104 for the first wicket and Jonathan Bairstow hit two sixes and seven fours in his 63 but Warwickshire stuck at it and took six wickets in the final session. Barker ended the day with three for 56, Naqaash Tahir two for 49 and Gary Montgomery two for 24, and there was a wicket apiece for Calum MacLeod and Paul Best.