Patel relishing fresh challenge
Samit Patel admits he is eager to prove his worth as a Test player after being selected for the tour of Sri Lanka.
The Nottinghamshire all-rounder was handed his first call-up for the two-match series after impressing in recent one-day rubbers against India and Pakistan.
He will be challenging Ravi Bopara for the slot vacated by the dropped Eoin Morgan, with each man likely to be given a chance in the pre-Test warm-up matches.
Although he has represented England in 25 one-day and eight Twenty20 internationals, Patel is understandably thrilled by the prospect of stepping into the five-day team.
“This is a different thing for me because I’ve never been in a Test squad before and I’m quite excited really,” he said.
“It’s a massive boost for me having never been in the squad before and I’m very excited to show everyone what I can really do and take any opportunities I’m given.
“One of my goals is to play Test cricket. I’ve always wanted to do that as well as one-day cricket. I want to play all formats for England.
“It’s easy to get here, the toughest bit is staying in the squad and staying in the team. I’m ready to come in and bat where I’m asked to bat and do the job with the ball. I’m comfortable with the role I’ve been set.
“This is my first Test squad so easing my way in could be a crucial factor, but opportunities will arrive at some point.
“Having more games under my belt will be crucial for me too and just doing the skills out here, on and off the field, that are right for me.”
Patel was one of seven England players to arrive in Sri Lanka a week ahead of the main group - and the only one who was also involved in the limited-overs matches against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
As well as helping the likes of Andrew Strauss, Ian Bell and Matt Prior with their technique against spin, Patel’s early arrival also represents a new-found desire to work hard for an international future.
His England career stalled for some time due to fitness and weight concerns but he now feels he has the right attitude towards his off-field regime.
“Fitness is a key factor and everyone has to work hard on their fitness - some more than others,” he said.
“It’s probably an issue that will stay with me, but I’m not frustrated. The more work you do, the better you feel. Hopefully I am doing the right things now.”
Patel also accepts he may have to take on a greater workload than some of his team-mates to keep himself fit, but is ready to do so in order to fulfil his ambitions of becoming a Test player.
“Extra sessions are going to have to be done and you just have to get on with it,” he said. “You have to do the hard yards and the extra sessions that some might not need to."