I've still got work to do - Patel
Samit Patel is fully aware it is not job done in his efforts to cement a spot in England’s line-up for the first Test against India despite an outstanding contribution today.
Patel combined brilliantly with skipper Alastair Cook today, sharing an unbroken 153 stand after England had been reduced to 133 for four in reply to India A’s 369.
The Nottinghamshire all-rounder finished unbeaten on 82, while Cook was sitting pretty on 112 as the tourists closed on an impressive 286 for four.
Jonathan Trott chipped in with a fluent 56, while Kevin Pietersen marked his return to the England fold with a fluent 24-ball 23.
Patel’s performance was perhaps the most notable, however, given it strengthened his prospects of returning to the Test team as a batting all-rounder, in conditions which make his left-arm spin a valuable commodity too.
“It’s obviously great to get a good start in the first game and a good score - I feel great,” he said. “But there’s still a lot of work to do and two (warm-up) games left, so I haven’t got that position yet.
“I’m getting better, and the more games I play the better I’ll be.”
The 27-year-old inevitably found himself speaking about Cook too, and duly did so in glowing terms.
“I thought Cooky played out of his skin. To bat all day is a great effort,” he added. “Chef’s character and work ethic is outstanding, and it shows in his batting.
“One of our things is to grind and grind and grind and work hard as a unit and keep India in the dirt ...”
Patel is less than a month older than Cook, so has seen the opener’s qualities at close quarters from early in their respective representative careers.
“Who would ever doubt Alastair Cook?” he asked. “Determination and honesty sums up his cricket really, and I’m thrilled to bits for him.”
Pietersen, by contrast, sought to dominate throughout his short innings, and was dismissed trying to continue that trend - caught-and-bowled by his old adversary Yuvraj Singh.
“I think Kev started off his innings amazingly,” said Patel. “That shows the character of the person and the player he is. It’s fantastic to have him as a member of the team.
“I think we need that out here - a bit of oomph to get us going. KP does it outstandingly well, and we’re glad to have him back. He looks in fantastic nick ... shame he got out, but it’s just the way it goes.”