Flowering Patel love-struck
Samit Patel is in love - with his role as an international all-rounder.
The 27-year-old has established himself in England’s limited-overs teams thanks to a combination of clean hitting and reliable left-arm spin.
His three wickets and unbeaten 17 from 12 balls yesterday aided a 130-run thrashing of Pakistan at Abu Dhabi in the first of four one-day internationals.
Patel has played in all of England’s limited-overs internationals this winter, including the 5-0 ODI whitewash by world champions India, and is cherishing his involvement.
“I’m loving the role at the moment,” he revealed on Valentine’s Day.
“Unfortunately it didn’t go too well in India, but obviously we’ve got to look forward now and this series is key to put a bit of a marker down of playing in the sub-continent and playing the spinners well. We’ve started off really well.”
While Patel sees this rubber in that context, he viewed yesterday’s win as a riposte to the side that inflicted a Test whitewash on his team-mates who play the game’s longest form.
Limited-overs international-bests from opening batsman Alastair Cook and fast bowler Steven Finn - who hit 137 and took 4-34 respectively - proved decisive.
“It was a bit of a statement really,” said Patel. “Finny bowled outstandingly well up front to knock over the Pakistan top order, and obviously ’Chef’ [Cook] did his stuff at the start.
“That’s brilliant, setting a platform of 100-plus with Ravi (Bopara) - that was a great effort. And then ‘Chef’ carried on to get 130.”
Cook and Finn demonstrated ability that Patel, who went on to expand his series-view, knows is crucial for success at this level.
“Skill is involved in one-day cricket and you need a lot of skill,” he added. “All of our guys in our squad, you’ve got to have skill.
“We’re trying to aim for the best we can be and trying to improve as a one-day unit. And we’re aiming for the World Cup; we’re going to try and win the World Cup. It starts with a bunch of players here and playing in tough series against good opposition.”
Patel is part of batting and bowling units brimming with talent, which he believes is putting England on course to challenge for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
“We could be dangerous and we’ve got a lot of talent in our squad, the likes of KP [Kevin Pietersen], Bopara, (Eoin) Morgan in the middle order, and (Craig) Kieswetter - there’s a lot of firepower really,” he said.
"And obviously Finny, if he blasts away at the top with Jimmy [James Anderson] and Broady [Stuart Broad], we’re looking at a good squad to be honest with you, and we’ve not even mentioned Swanny [Graeme Swann] yet. So we’re going in the right direction.”
To continue that progression, Patel is determined to repay the Test whitewash likewise.
“We’re looking to absolutely nail this series, to beat them 4-0, to whitewash them,” he added. “Obviously a bit of payback for the Test series really and the boys are geared up for it.
“We know exactly what it’s going to take. I’ve already highlighted the skill levels you need to face their spinners and against their batters.”